With the ongoing violence in Surrey continuing to make headlines, is the impact having an effect on the housing market?
If we look back to April when the shootings reached the 30 mark for 2016, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board statistics show there were 163 more detached homes sold in Surrey compared to April of 2015, which is a 28% increase.
There were 161 more town homes sold during the month, up 65% year-over-year, and there was a 100% increase in apartments sold in Surrey during that same time period.
Looking at specific neighbourhoods, there was a 60% increase in townhouses sold in Surrey central, which includes the neighbourhood of Newton.
The average price of townhouses sold there went up by 25% this past April.
In that same area there has been a 75% increase in apartments sold year-over-year.
Time to sell?
“I actually live in a townhouse complex and there’s eight people in my block and in the last six months three have sold and four more have listed. Only us and one other owner have not listed our homes and that shows something significant.”
Community Activist Naida Robinson, just one of many parents worried about the violence in Surrey, says people in her neighbourhood want to move because of the violence.
CKNW spoke with South Surrey-White Rock Realtor Sarah Daniels to see if people are in fact moving out of Surrey because of the violence or if buyers are scared and worried about moving into Surrey because of the shootings.
“Surrey for the longest time has had a bad reputation. When I first moved down to South Surrey – White Rock 20 years ago people thought I was moving to the root’n, toot’n wild cowboy land and Surrey had a reputation of a high crime area. Unfortunately its had that stigma for a long time but there are many different areas of Surrey that people don’t think are a part of Surrey.”
Daniels says people usually think of the poorer crime-ridden areas of Whalley or parts of Newton but Surrey has the Guildford area or Cloverdale.
“Like any city there are areas of Surrey that have problems, but just because of the problems on Vancouver’s downtown Eastside you don’t hear people say I’m going to leave Vancouver because of the Downtown Eastside.”
Daniels says she’s not diminishing the violence and fears but doesn’t like the blanket statement that Surrey itself is not a safe place to live.
Scaring off buyers?
So do new clients have fears about buying in Surrey?
“It hasn’t been an issue for me in my area of South Surrey-White Rock, but there have been issues in the Morgan Crossing mall, a nice mall, a high-end mall where the was a shooting a year and a half ago, and these things unfortunately do happen but I’ve never heard concerns from clients about violence, it’s more about schools and the lack of space.”
Surrey is the fastest growing city in B.C. and the second most populated so we asked Daniels about the growth of Surrey and where she’s seen the largest growth.
“East of highway 99, all re-zoned and tones of townhouses and smaller lots for detached homes, the Cloverdale area has grown as well, new malls and infrastructure.”
Lastly, we asked if any of the fears from perspective buyers looking to buy in Surrey but worried about gang violence is warranted?
“I certainly don’t walk around feeling nervous because I work in Surrey. Instead of making Surrey jokes people should actually come here and see how big and diverse Surrey really is.”