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Prospective buyers line up for Abbotsford condo presales

Click to play video 'Real estate frenzy spreads to the Fraser Valley' Real estate frenzy spreads to the Fraser Valley
WATCH: It's a common sight in Vancouver, but Abbotsford is now also experiencing a flood in housing sales. The evidence is clear as one pre-construction sale had buyers lining up days in advance. Kristen Robinson has the details – Jul 8, 2016

It’s a frenzy that until recently was only seen in Metro Vancouver. But now would-be buyers are lining up for condo presales in the Fraser Valley city of Abbotsford, about an hour’s drive from Vancouver.

Developers say it’s all about affordability.

“They’re getting more for their money out here,” Quadra Homes CEO Peter Warkentin said, adding that a two-bedroom suite with parking goes for about $350,000.

His company is behind La Galleria, a six-storey condo complex slated for occupancy in April 2018. The final 116 homes go on sale Saturday at 8 a.m.

With units starting at $230,000, potential buyers, including Linda Hummell, started to line up more than two weeks ago. The retiree, who is first in line, is downsizing from her newly sold Aldergrove home and admits she never expected to be lining up for condos in Abbotsford.

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“There was a particular unit we wanted,” she said. “There was only one on that floor. We were quite prepared to sit in for as long as it took and we’re glad we did.”

Ron Bonar flew in from Toronto on Tuesday after his wife saw a unit she liked.

“I get up the next morning, grab a plane, come out here and I said, ‘OK, where’s the sign-up sheet?’ So I signed the sheet and I was going to walk away and the lady says, ‘Oh no you have to stay here until they start selling.'”

The grandfather says he doesn’t mind camping out from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for the chance to own a condo near where his daughter and grandchildren live.

La Galleria’s sales centre first opened in 2009, when a developer from China attempted to market the presale condos at the peak of the financial crisis. When it failed, the project was abandoned for six years until Quadra Homes bought the site at Trethewey Street and Simon Avenue early last year. La Galleria was redesigned by a local architect and the first 162 suites sold out after going up for sale last July. As of midday Friday, 25 people were lined up for a chance to buy into the final phase.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board says it is seeing a 20 per cent spike in sales in the region compared to last year.

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“We’ve got a situation where demand is outpacing the supply and that’s all that’s happening in the valley right now,” Fraser Valley Real Estate Board president-elect Gopal Sahota said.

Another 50 people are expected to join the Abbotsford condo lineup before sales begin Saturday morning.