June 2, 2023

Curated Media Exposure Makes a Difference

June 2, 2023

Curated Media Exposure Makes a Difference

10 minutes with Simon Chang and Fred Zhang

There’s something about Burquitlam. It’s more than the lush, green setting of this mature residential neighbour hood. It’s more than the feeling this is a true community rather than just a collection of homes and streets. Burquitlam has ambience and character. People who move there tend to stay, and it’s one of the rare places where neighbours actually greet the folks who live on their street by name. In this issue, we chat with Simon Chang and Fred Zhang from Evermark Real Estate Services about this thriving, residential enclave located at the intersection of Burnaby and Coquitlam and only a five-minute drive to both New Westminster and Port Moody.

New Home + Condo Guide: Not so long ago, many buyers had never heard of Burquitlam. Now it seems to be an area that’s attracting a wide range of people, from first time homeowners to young families and right-sizing seniors. What’s its new appeal?

Simon Chang: Over the past five or six years, the West Coquitlam area around Lougheed Centre has seen huge, attention-grabbing development, so Burquitlam tended to be overlooked. But now that there are only a few cranes left at Lougheed, buyers are discovering how quaint and welcoming this neighbourhood is —definitely more of a boutique environment. It’s one of those rare, residential pockets that’s perfectly situated. You’re on a plateau, so you often get great views. It’s close to all the amenities of Lougheed Centre, but you’re not in the middle of all the bustle and noise. And with the Evergreen Line within easy walking distance, you can now be in downtown Vancouver in about 25 minutes or Surrey in 20, without needing to drive. People also enjoy how lush and green Burquitlam is; parks and natural greenspaces are everywhere. If you like hiking or watersports, the trails on Burnaby Mountain, the beach at Rocky Point Park, and walking paths and athletic fields at Mundy Park are all a five-minute drive or less. In most other urban transit hubs, you have to travel much further to access these kinds of outdoor activities. Plus, you’ve got great proximity to SFU and Douglas College—even BCIT and the UBC campus at Surrey City Centre are easily accessed.

NH+CG: Who’s buying in Burquitlam?

Fred Zhang: The profile has changed recently. A few years ago, it was mainly people in their 40s or 50s. Now we’re seeing lots 20- and 30-year-olds, especially among couples who’ve just gotten married and are looking for a place to put down roots while they raise a family. Another thing we’ve noticed that’s interesting is that a high proportion of buyers expect to live in their home rather than use them as revenue property. For example, at the recently launched Burqville townhomes, more than 90 per cent of the folks who bought said they’re purchasing a home for themselves and their family.

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NH+CG: What about return on investment?

Fred Zhang: Burquitlam is still emerging as a desirable community, so prices tend to be lower than in more built-up communities. And yes, that translates into the potential for higher-than average growth on investment.

NH+CG: The area just south of Burquitlam, nearer to Lougheed, has recently seen huge growth in highrise towers. Burquitlam is also putting up towers, but there are also a number of townhome projects that fit more naturally with the neighbourhood’s existing single-family orientation. What’s the reaction been to this housing type?

Fred Zhang: In a word, astonishing. For a lot of people, a townhome ticks all the boxes, and because there are only three projects offering a total of approximately 225 units currently underway, demand is high. When Burqville launched in mid-April, there were more than 2,000 people who had registered for the 50 homes, and over 700 tours took place within the first three weeks.

NH+CG: One of the buzzwords in residential construction is the “missing middle.” Do you believe townhomes are addressing this unmet market?

Simon Chang:  Yes. Townhomes, in general, are more affordable than single-family housing, and many people simply don’t want to live in a condo, so a townhouse is the bridge. But one design—the stacked townhome over a garden flat that you see at Burqville—has only recently made an appearance in Burquitlam. We’ve seen it in places like Surrey, Langley, or Port Coquitlam for some time, but it’s a relatively new design in this area.

NH+CG: So, what does that look like and why are people enthusiastic?

Simon Chang: A stacked townhome is a two level unit above a single-level garden suite; we call it “layered living.” Right away, the design means you’re appealing to a broader range of ages, genders, and ethnicities, so it creates a more family-focused environment than you typically see in a strictly highrise neighbourhood. But what is most important, is the increased livability and cost savings. Think about it this way: Most presale prices are based on cost per square foot. So, if you have a 1,400-sq. ft., three-level townhome, you’re only getting about 475 sq. ft. on each floor, and you’re going to lose some of that for the staircases. Now compare that to a 1,300-sq.- ft., two-level unit with 650 sq. ft. per floor. Not only does each floor feel open and airy, but the space planning is also more efficient. We actually saw people bring out a tape measure because they couldn’t believe the measurements were accurate. And best of all, it’s going to cost you less, which can make a world of difference for a young family who’s struggling to make every penny count.

NH+CG: Any final thoughts?

Fred Zhang: Burquitlam is transforming into one of Metro Vancouver’s up-and-coming neighbourhoods. I believe it’s got a great future, and we’re both looking forward to being part of the evolution.

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