New Westminster – Property Hot Spot

Recently, both Canadian Real Estate Wealth and Real Estate Investor Network magazines published articles on the city of New Westminster in Greater Vancouver. New Westminster was the original capital of British Columbia and is called the “Royal City” for its historical connections to the Crown in the original settler days. Located along the Fraser River with commanding views to the South, it has long been an area with a wealth of history and services.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was one of the few retail centres outside of Downtown Vancouver. However, it has had a diminished reputation since its heyday and has only in the last decade or so made a concentrated effort to regain its prominence in the region. The geographical location means that not only is it centrally located in Greater Vancouver, but also that there are no bridges to cross between it and downtown Vancouver.

Don Campbell of Real Estate Investor Network states that it is a City poised to boom, is one of the nation’s real estate hotspots, and that the next 10 year window should be one of its best decades ever. He makes the case that even if the region slows, New Westminster’s market will have legs, due to its comparative affordability, transportation infrastructure, and job base. The City’s population has grown 7.6% since 2011 and is projected to grow another 10% by 2020. This relatively small city is bracketed by highways to the East and West, with the original highway and Patulla Bridge access running through the centre. This transportation infrastructure is combined with two Skytrain lines connecting to the historical downtown. Due to its small size and history, the City has a full supply of services and facilities at a rate that is higher than an average area. Industrial areas at both ends of town, with the regional freight rail connecting them, means that a wide variety of jobs exist in the City as well. As stated in Canadian Real Estate Wealth, if you take out a map and look at where New Westminster is compared with surrounding areas and demands, it becomes obvious that New Westminster is going to have a great run for the next decade.

The City has poured a lot of investment into revitalizing the waterfront from its industrial past and has sensitively refurbished the historical downtown near the transit hub. This in turn has attracted major property investment that has had a rollover effect in the rest of the City. However, when property values are analyzed, it is still comparatively cheap next to its surrounding areas. Why is this? Well as outlined in the articles, throughout history, there have been cities that seem to miss or lag while surrounding areas boom. This used to be the story of New Westminster, but the window of opportunity is slowly closing and who knows how long it will last. Vacancy rates have dropped and demand has increased. We are starting to see upward pressure on prices in all sectors, be it residential, commercial, or industrial. Now is the time to act and we at Maude MacKay & Co. Ltd. are primed to help you capitalize on the opportunity.

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