Foreign investors snap up Burnaby real estate

VANCOUVER — Never mind the weather, Vancouver’s housing market is a go-to conversation topic in the Lower Mainland. But foreign investors are recently looking outside the city’s boundaries for their next investments, causing a land rush in Burnaby specifically.

Four key areas of the nearby Vancouver suburb are being snapped up: Brentwood, Metrotown, Edmonds and Lougheed. If the names sound familiar, it’s because there’s a Skytrain hub in each of them.

In Metrotown, smaller, wood-framed apartment buildings are being sold at record prices. On average, a condo would normally be sold anywhere between $200,000 and $225,000, says realtor Bill Goold. He says that with whole buildings being sold to developers, the “per-door” sales figures can be up to $350,000.

Unlike its neighbour Vancouver, Burnaby has no requirement to replace demolished rental housing.

“I really believe that there will actually be more rental because these ones are for investment and they’ll probably rent them out,” Goold told Global News.

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But some local residents are concerned about the price point of the new developments. “If they’re going to tear down low-rises that are affordable, they need to have some kind of affordable housing strategy,” says Rick McGowan of the Metrotown Residents Association.

Burnaby’s mayor Derek Corrigan says he’s not surprised by the increased interest from foreign investors, noting real estate in the city is still relatively inexpensive on a global scale. However, that doesn’t mean the interest isn’t without its curses.

“It’s put huge pressure on our real estate prices, on our vacancy rates,” says Corrigan. “Like anything, it has both its blessings and its detriments.”

With files from Jill Bennett.