There is much talk of dire times ahead for the global economy but the wise investor knows that if you play your cards right and keep your ears to the ground for pocket developments in select markets, you can still make great profits. That said, the housing market in Canada’s Fraser Valley provides a window of opportunity even in these financially unsettling times. Not only is today the best time to buy a house here but this is also your chance to experience life at its fullest in a region where industries thrive and urban centers flourish amid a majestic setting of rolling hills and snow-capped mountains.
Fraser Valley: An overview
The province of British Columbia, Canada is where you’ll find the Fraser Valley, an agricultural region known for its microbreweries, wineries, golf courses, and sturgeon and salmon fishing spots. While innately rural in terms of look and feel, a good number of home buyers are turning to the Fraser Valley for its relative proximity to two important regions for both commerce and recreation. This area is a little more than 80 miles west of the City of Vancouver and around 211 miles away from the northwestern border of Washington State.
Despite the large swath of forest and farmland dominating the expanse of the Fraser Valley, it is known to be one of the most heavily populated regions of British Columbia. In fact, around half of the said province’s population resides in and around the area. Many of those who chose to move here owe their decision to the breathtaking geography of this valley that provides them with a break from the hustle and bustle of urban spaces.
The Fraser Valley is also popular among Canada’s snowbirds, primarily because snow here is at a bare minimum, especially when you go from the coastline further into the east. Winters in the Lower Mainland are relatively tolerable, with temperatures touching around 30 degrees Celsius or more. The lower temperatures are among the main reasons why the agricultural industry here thrives.
Discover hot springs, mountain trails, alpine ridges, prairies, river rapids, and old-growth forests in the Fraser Valley. The abundance of nature’s gifts and design here has led to an entire range of outdoor activities like hiking, camping, biking, skiing, and windsurfing. Its many lakes and rivers are fit for boating, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and fishing. The Fraser River that snakes through the Valley is also where you’ll find the largest stock of sockeye salmon in the world.
Table of Contents
- The Fraser Valley’s real estate appeal
- From city to countryside
- Looking toward the Fraser Valley
- A land of economic opportunities
- Time to buy is now
- Interest rates on the rise
- Sights trained on the Fraser Valley
- Assessing the Fraser Valley real estate market
- The status quo
- The predictions
- Available homes in Fraser Valley
- What to expect when moving to Fraser Valley, British Columbia
- The name to trust in helping you find your Fraser Valley home – Don Munro
The Fraser Valley’s real estate appeal
The Fraser Valley’s housing market has been constantly on the rise since the 1980s, fueled by significant population growth over the years with no foreseen change in this upward trend in the near future. The more recent population boom is caused primarily by an exodus among Canadians from urban areas like Vancouver to the suburbs.
From city to countryside
Serving as the impetus for this movement is the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Many companies had to change their policies to survive the restriction of movement and the one with the most impact on real estate was the shift to remote work.
With the go signal to implement remote work, the flow of operations in many businesses resumed even while employees stayed at home. However, this also gave way to another realization: now that most employees are untethered from their physical offices, they could work from just about anywhere for as long as there’s internet connectivity.
Major cities like Vancouver may have been the pillars of the country’s economy but with the pandemic grinding industries to a halt, these urban centers took the most beating. City folks were stuck in their homes and the cost of living in the city remained high. And with average home values in Vancouver teetering into the millions, affordable housing was almost unheard of. Even rentals were hiking up prices to hedge against the shaky economic circumstances. Moreover, standard detached homes were becoming even more cramped with every member of the family hunkering down at home. Suddenly, the idea of moving out to the countryside while still remaining productive in their work became attractive.
Looking toward the Fraser Valley
Many people who have lived in Vancouver for years and then moved to neighbouring regions like the Fraser Valley look at their decision with no regrets. A simple comparison between their previous living quarters and their current ones is already proof that they made a wise choice. For the same price as a cramped condo in Metro Vancouver, you can find a spacious detached home in Langley or Surrey with wide outdoor space (a preferred home feature in the new normal) and enough indoor private and bonding spaces for all members of the family.
The Fraser Valley also gave many people the chance to simplify their lives and connect with nature, far from the stress of city life. Children have more space to run and play in, with several highly ranked schools for them to get a good education. Overall, making the move to the Fraser Valley is also one made with the family’s interests in mind.
A land of economic opportunities
The Fraser Valley is one of the fastest-growing regions in the province, with a population that is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2041. It is already home to a number of major employers, including Amazon, Costco, and Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery. Its young and educated workforce is the region’s source of economic muscle. Thus, job opportunities and career growth are within reach when you decide to move to this lovely B.C. region.
Government support is also strong in the Fraser Valley and in the rest of British Columbia. The province’s Ministry of Finance is allocating $50 million to help grow British Columbia’s life sciences, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors. The budget and fiscal plan for 2024/2025 has also earmarked $46 million for the adoption of energy efficiency measures in buildings. Meanwhile, around $16 million is to be spent on new incentives such as heat pumps for northern and rural homeowners over the next three years.
The Fraser Valley is also an active participant in Canada’s trade and commerce. Its proximity to the U.S. border alone already provides a solid economic advantage for the region as it has the easiest access to trade routes between both countries.
The cost of living in Fraser Valley is also 14% lower than the average for the entirety of British Columbia and is 1% lower than the national average. This means that residents here have more purchasing power, given how far their dollars can go.
Those planning to invest in Fraser Valley real estate will benefit much by the range of economic opportunities available here, as well as the promise of a much better life for their families.
The time to buy is now
Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’ve dealt with the home-buying process more than once, making an investment in Fraser Valley real estate is a smart decision. However, with inflation and interest rates on the rise and narrower windows of opportunity coming in, now – more than any other time – is the best time to buy a house here.
Interest rates on the rise
Interest rates have already begun their ascent to curb rising inflation, the latest of which was a 1.5% hike by the Bank of Canada. With mortgage rates mirroring interest rate movement, people can expect to pay higher mortgage rates now than in the past two years during the height of the pandemic threat. Experts also predict more rate hikes until year-end.
That said, in getting a home mortgage now, home buyers can lock in on present rates before they get any higher. This assures them of protection against rising rates so that they can future-proof their finances and build equity.
Sights trained on the Fraser Valley
In British Columbia, the Fraser Valley commands attention as one of the hottest housing markets in the province. Even with rising interest rates expected to temporarily slow the market down, this remains the best time to buy a house here as the demand for Fraser Valley real estate is still strong with the continuing migration to this area. But before you do, there are several other factors to consider.
- Your personal financial situation.
- Your job security and income.
- The availability of houses in your desired price range and location.
Assessing the Fraser Valley real estate market
The status quo
Throughout 2021 up to the first quarter of this year, much of the B.C. real estate market felt the pinch of a scant supply and an ever-rising demand that drove home values to stratospheric heights. With average home prices in the area going way past $1 million plus the foreboding increase in interest rates, residential sales for this year were expected to decline by as much as 17% from last year’s record-breaking figures, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association. From a whopping 26,500 housing units sold in 2021, only around 17,000 units were seen to be sold by next year with a steady 8% decline up to 2023.
However, February 2022 figures from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board surprised many market observers. They reported a total of almost 4,000 new listings flooding the local real estate market, reflecting an unprecedented uptick of 75.3% from January figures and a 14.6% increase year-on-year.
If you are intent on finding a new place to call home, then the Fraser Valley, B.C. housing market is worth putting on your radar.
After enjoying frenetic activity and skyrocketing home values on the back of near-zero interest rates imposed at the start of the pandemic, the housing market is now taking a step back in what many experts consider a “correction.” Making the most impact in this market slowdown is the steady climb of interest rates digging into aggregate home prices all throughout the country.
Reports add that B.C. and Ontario – provinces with the hottest real estate markets in recent times – are expected to see the biggest declines in their respective aggregate prices. This is seen as a domino effect brought about by the looming 2.2% slump in the national aggregate price, as predicted by the Royal Bank of Canada. RBC further sees the said price going down to $776,900 by 2023.
On the local front, the aggregate price for homes in B.C. is seen to take a 3.8% slash to $1.02 million by next year, bigger than Ontario’s 2.3% predicted decline and the lowest drop across the country.
Prior to the marked increase in interest rates, RBC predicted a 6.8% climb in B.C.’s aggregate price this year to $1.06 million, peaking in spring then slightly decreasing before year-end.
What does this mean for home buyers with plans to enter the Fraser Valley housing market?
Home values may still be higher at this point but, considering the drastic price movements in the months ahead, getting a fixed mortgage for that Fraser Valley home at present will protect you from the foreseen price adjustments. Thus, the best time to buy a house in this region is now.
Available homes in Fraser Valley
The recent infusion of new listings has widened the range of homes available to the eager home buyer in the Fraser Valley. Dominating the housing inventory are detached homes. The number of available townhomes, condos, and multi-family residences has also increased, as well as lots and vacant land. While Vancouver still has the most number of homes in the market, Abbotsford is a close second, with more homes being pegged for sale as you follow the Fraser River going eastward to Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Langley, Surrey, and Hope.
With the heightened interest for homes in the Fraser Valley, the eager home buyer must be ready to rise to the challenge of entering into bidding wars for their preferred abode. That said, you will require the help of a good local real estate agent who can represent you and your interests during negotiations – someone whose deep knowledge of the Fraser Valley housing market can give you that needed edge to successfully snag the deal.
What to expect when moving to Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Much of the southwest region of B.C., including the Fraser Valley, constitute the Lower Mainland. Culturally diverse, this area is home to people from all walks of life, from farmers and loggers to artists and musicians. The region has a strong sense of community, and you’ll quickly feel like you’re a part of something special when you move here.
The Fraser Valley is composed of great urban areas such as Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley, and Surrey, as well as lively towns and communities such as Agassiz (Kent), Mission, White Rock, Hope, Harrison, North Delta, Yarrow, and Boston Bar.
If you’re considering making the move to Fraser Valley, there are some things you should know.
- Love that weather. You will need a closet with clothes for all four seasons. But you don’t have to stack up too much on the thermal wear and layered thick clothing as the Valley has a beautiful microclimate. Summers here are hotter than in many other areas of B.C. and the rest of the country, with temperatures that could go past the 30s. Winters, meanwhile, are moderate so you’re not bogged down by nasty snowdrifts or the frequent shoveling on your doorway.
- Starting out. If you’re new to real estate transactions or you’re starting out, the Fraser Valley has great places for you to build your momentum. Langley has affordable starter homes and is near the SkyTrain. Other options are Abbotsford and Surrey.
- Not just farming. Agriculture and forestry are the primary industries in the Fraser Valley, given the fertile soil and the wonderfully mild climate, but other industries are taking a foothold and contributing to the creation of jobs here. These are tourism, manufacturing, transportation, construction, and retail and service.
- Fly in, fly out. If you’re a constant traveler, you can rest assured that there will always be an international airport near you when you live in the Fraser Valley. These airports are:
- Vancouver International Airport
- Abbotsford International Airport
- Bellingham International Airport
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
The name to trust in helping you find your Fraser Valley home – Don Munro
With the many real estate opportunities present right now in the Fraser Valley, it’s important to make sure you make the right moves. An experienced local Realtor can help you do that, from determining the best time to buy a house to assuring that you have the most stress-free experience in your home-buying endeavor.
In the Lower Mainland region, there’s one real estate expert with over 35 years of experience in serving clients and completing successful transactions. This is yours truly, Don Munro. With me as your working partner in your home-buying journey, you can be assured of value for your money, great returns, and informed guidance all throughout the process.