Back to Blog
12 Apr

White Rock the New Richmond

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

White Rock the New Richmond?

As anyone who has resided in the Lower Mainland in the past decade or so knows, Richmond has been a favorite desti-nation for real estate buyers from China. Forty-five percent of the Richmond population was of Chinese ethnicity accord-ing to the 2006 Census figures. It was 34% in 1996. While I haven’t been able to find a similar table for South Surrey/White Rock, according to the 2006 census, 81.6% of South Surrey residents identified a single mother tongue as English. Even without statistics it is clearly apparent to anyone who has visited both areas that Richmond has a much larger Chi-nese population than the Peninsula.

However if the current sales trend continues, it won’t be long before our community will have a significant demographic shift, with immigrants from China and the city of Richmond as well.

As you can see from the table above, the number of sales of detached homes soared 150% compared to last March. The average price also vaulted to $960,856, almost a 20% rise from 2010, yet the Benchmark price, which measures the in-crease in the price of a house typical to the area, only rose 3.6%. This is due to a large number of expensive house sales, as in one million plus dollars, to predominantly Chinese buyers.

Why have the Chinese suddenly become so interested in our neck of the woods? For one, our schools have become a major draw. The mainland Chinese want their children to learn English so they send them to English speaking schools. Chinese Richmond parents are moving to our area because our schools are more “English” than those in Richmond.

Another reason that has been put forth for this shift to South Surrey/White Rock has to do with the tragic earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan. Richmond is flat, surrounded by dykes and subject to the danger of liquefaction should a se-vere earthquake happen. Most of our area is much safer looking to potential offshore and Richmond buyers.

Another stimulus for this activity involves restrictive real estate policies in China which prohibit individuals from own-ing more than two properties.

As if the reasons above are not enough, our real estate prices are a bargain in the eyes of the Chinese, especially taking into account what a wonderful place our Peninsula is to live in.

It will be interesting to see if the trend continues at its current torrid pace. Chinese New Year was in February and many feel that this holiday period was the stimulus for the upsurge in activity. My feeling is that we will settle into a less fren-zied but still strong Seller’s market for detached homes. Apartment and townhouse sales have thus far remained stable and it remains to be seen if these categories will also become targets of the offshore buyers.

Len Doray

Managing Partner

HomeLife Benchmark Realty Corp.,

Email: len@lendoray.com

Phone: 604-531-1111

Detached

White Rock/South Surrey

11-March

10-March

%Change

11-February

%Change

Sales

249

98

154.1%

145

71.7%

New Listings

305

212

43.9%

230

32.6%

Active Listings

475

538

-11.7%

471

0.8%

Benchmark Price

$796,434

$768,747

3.6%

$782,773

1.7%

Median Price

$838,000

$720,000

16.4%

$826,500

1.4%

Average Price

$906,856

$803,305

19.6%

$905,934

6.1%