'Go long' on Fraser Valley land buys
SkyTrain potential creates demand for high-density development in Surrey-Langley corridor
Most investors who acquired future development land since 2015 were able to do quite well financially. But in the past year the B-20 mortgage stress test, rising interest rates and increasing government regulations have caused land speculation to all but vanish.
Even with an apparent slowdown in the overall market, however, developers and investors are aggressively seeking the right assets. In any real estate market cycle, location can never be replaced. Buyers are spending more time with due diligence and looking at not only the bottom line, but all the lines to ensure a project’s viability.
Here are three of the primary attributes our clients are focused on when purchasing development land in the Fraser Valley.
The proposed Surrey-Langley SkyTrain is slated as the next big infrastructure project East of the Port Mann Bridge. Several areas along its corridor are poised for an increase in land acquisitions and development activity in the coming years. Surrey’s mayor has indicated the city’s preference for transit-oriented over greenﬁeld development, which council has referred to as “smart development.” Developers have taken note, and have already begun to acquire land in Surrey’s Fleetwood, Clayton and City Centre, all areas expected to host future SkyTrain stations.
As Langley will eventually house the SkyTrain’s eastern terminus station, the city’s downtown core and Willowbrook neighbourhood have become sought-after commodities and appear to be investments with a tremendous upside as land costs remain considerably lower than in Surrey.
Schools, parks, recreation centres, community centres, hospitals, future transit hubs – these amenities are paramount as developers aim to create interconnected and walkable communities to meet the demands of not only city councils, but also the end consumer. Proximity to one or more key amenities drastically increases a project’s viability and likeliness of being supported at the city level.
As many Fraser Valley schools face capacity issues, city councils have begun to place greater emphasis on developing amenities concurrently with housing, avoiding the need for costly temporary solutions such as portable classrooms. This means development plans could be significantly delayed because of a lack of amenities, so it’s crucial to conduct proper due diligence into surrounding amenities in order to add certainty to your land acquisition.
The SkyTrain extension will undoubtedly trigger the revision of several official neighbourhood plans. This will present an opportunity for buyers to acquire land that has the potential to be up-zoned within the next decade.
The Anniedale-Tynehead area should be on your radar. Sitting just off Highway 1 and less than 15 minutes to the U.S. border and covering more than 1,000 acres, Tynehead has quietly become one of Surrey’s most exciting future development areas. When compared to neighbouring Willoughby Heights in Langley, it is no surprise optimism is high. Willoughby Heights, primarily near the Carvolth exchange, offers high-density housing, a budding commercial component and transit connectivity by way of Park-and-Ride. It has become one of the Fraser Valley’s most desired residential areas, demonstrating the appetite for similar neighbourhoods.
Tynehead is particularly exciting to us as it offers the opportunity to take part in the shaping of a vibrant community, built from the ground up.
With more than 40,000 people moving into B.C. yearly, smart developers and investors are keenly looking at land opportunities in areas such as Anniedale-Tynehead.
Business, similar to life, is not a sprint but a marathon, and we have supreme confidence in land as a long-term play.