Vancouver boomers are cashing out their homes and flocking to White Rock
As Vancouver’s baby boomers age, many of them are downsizing their homes and are pocketing a good chunk of the profits – without sacrificing their lifestyle in the process – by moving to outlying communities that are smaller and less expensive.
“There is a bit of an exodus going on out of the central areas of Vancouver to places like White Rock and other surrounding suburban communities and even up into the Okanagan.” said Scott Brown, President & CEO of Fifth Avenue Real Estate.
“Most of the people who are doing that are taking a significant amount of equity off the table. They might spend two million on a home with us, but they still probably put two or three million dollars in the bank from selling their single-family home that they bought in Vancouver for $350,000 30 years ago.”
Brown represents Foster Martin, a new, three-tower condominium development in White Rock that is turning heads with its innovative architecture and enviable seaside location. It is one of the most significant developments in White Rock in years and will provide a vibrant link between the urban center and the seaside.
The development is not only attracting attention from buyers in Vancouver, but also from White Rock and surrounding communities.
“There is a built-in community in White Rock and South Surrey that lives in large homes around golf courses or ocean views that are aging and want to stay in this community for the next 10 to 15 years that want something smaller, but won’t buy anything less than 1,000 square feet,” said Brown. “In the last six years there has been no new supply of any meaningful scale or height offered in White Rock, so Foster Martin meets that demand.”
Each of the three 24- and 25-storey towers will have between 100 and 120 residences, but one of the things that is unique about them, said Brown, is that each of these homes, which average 1,250 square feet in size, has been planned so that it can be combined with a neighbouring unit to create a larger, 2,000-square-foot home.
“Normally, if someone wants a large home like that, they are forced up into the tower and are forced up into a significant price increase whereas here if you are happy with the view on the fifth floor, you can get 2,000 square feet on the fifth floor as opposed to being forced into a sub-penthouse,” explained Brown.
Brown says that 2,000 people have visited the Foster Martin sales centre in the past few weeks, which demonstrates there is tremendous interest in the project. The actual official public sales process will begin on August 12. Brown noted that one recent condominium development in White Rock sold all of its 200 units in one day.
Construction on the first tower, the Martin, is expected to start in three-to-six months, with the first units delivered in 2019, The second tower, the Foster, will be ready in summer 2020 followed by the third tower, the Landmark, at a future date.
“Originally we were just going to launch the Martin,” said Brown, “but based on the demand we’ve had, both towers – the Martin and the Foster – released to the public on July 22.”
One of the first things people will notice about Foster Martin is its dramatic, wave-shaped design that is the work of internationally renowned architecture firm IBI Group. The look is both aesthetic and practical, explained Brown.
“White Rock is inherently a seaside community. That’s its charm and its attraction,” he said. “There is something hypnotic about the sea so the inspiration for the architecture and the curved lines of the building were two-fold.
“One was, from a very practical perspective, to maximize people’s view and orientation to the sea so even the north-facing units with their wraparound decks actually have a southern-facing part of their large, outdoor patio that is more substantial than a typical condominium since people in White Rock do live indoor/outdoor,” Brown said.
“The other consideration was the sea. The waves and the structure fit into the existing setting and ensure we maximize people’s experiences. We made the towers a bit more slender to minimize any impact to the sea views from existing buildings, but also to ensure that there is sufficient light and shading for the public areas below that will be called On White Rock Commons.”
On White Rock Commons will transform what is currently an empty patch of land into a thriving retail and recreational space that will link the town centre with the seaside.
“In White Rock, one of the primary civic spaces is the beach and the historic pier,” said Brown, “but the town centre has been missing an urban magnet. Other developments that are coming along are slowly filling in the city centre, but this one will actually provide a very strong civic space and a pedestrian connection from Martin Street through the community and around a pond water feature through restaurants and shops and then into Foster Street and into Russell Avenue where many retailers are. Right now, it’s just a vacant piece of land in the town centre. It’s probably the most walkable community being developed in White Rock right now in terms of the ability to walk to shops, services, hospital and doctors.”
As for the Foster Martin housing units themselves, Brown explained that the developer, Landmark Premiere Properties, has spared no expense in providing top-notch appliances, finishes and amenities. Foster Martin will also provide buyers more designs than a typical development.
“Most developers will offer just two colour schemes,” said Brown. “In this case, we actually doubled our interior design budget so we have two completely different interior design schemes and two colour scheme choices within each so there is much more variety for our consumer.”
“One is very modern; Seaview Contemporary we call it, and it’s much more like what you would find in Los Angeles, Miami or Dubai with clean lines, integrated appliances in very efficient and large living spaces where everything is about keeping the home simple and where the view is the star.”
“The other scheme is Seaview Traditional and that is very much for people moving out of significantly large family homes who have a little more traditional tastes toward crown moulding and these types of things.”
Brown believes that Foster Martin will cater to the demands of aging boomers who are looking for a more relaxed way of life, but with all of the comforts that they are seeking to fit their healthy and active lifestyles.
“Baby boomers continue to be very much shapers of place and community,” Brown concluded. “They are very committed into staying in their local communities if they can, even though they realize as they age they need to significantly change the form of housing that they live in. However, baby boomers are also showing themselves to be mobile, which is why places like White Rock have become so attractive to them.”