Welcome to Chilliwack

Ain't no "Crisis" here.....

  • by  Paul J. Henderson - Chilliwack Times
  •  posted Jun 24, 2015 at 4:00 PM
For anyone who doesn’t live in Vancouver, the relentless flow of news stories about high prices in the province’s largest city can be exhausting.The situation west of us has even led to a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #don’thave1million.So you can’t get a single family home for less than a million dollars? Too bad. You should see what you can get in Chilliwack for that kind of cash.And that just might be happening. Could Chilliwack become a safe haven for real estate refugees fleeing the supposed tyranny of high prices?Salina (who asked that her last name not be used) and her family moved to Chilliwack a year ago from Aldergrove, mainly because of lower real estate prices.Not from Vancouver, sure, but she, her husband and her family spent $500,000 on a brand new, 3,400-square-foot home in the Eastern Hillsides “with million-dollar views,” as she puts it.“If we were looking for something like that, even in Abbotsford, I know we would be paying $100,000 more,” she said.What if that house and those views were in, say, North Vancouver?“Oh, it would be $2 million,” she guesses, “at least.”It’s not as if Chilliwack real estate is on fire, but local realtors have enjoyed three solid months. Most recently, there were 321 homes sold in May worth $103 million compared to 278 sales worth $86 million in May 2014.“All in all it’s been good,” said Travis Heppner, new president of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB).“We are still affordable; one of the last places in the valley that is affordable. That’s crucial for bringing young people here.”The lack of affordability of housing in Vancouver and even in many communities east of there is nothing new. Young people can’t even imagine getting into the market. Double-income middle class couples are “house poor” living in downtown condominiums. And some seniors who have been in the market for decades are rubbing their hands together at their property’s worth as they consider downsizing.One local realtor told the Times about an elderly client who had two properties in North Vancouver purchased for close to $5 million. Imagine what he can retire to out here.A new Angus Reid survey suggested “a significant segment of people living in Metro Vancouver is seriously considering moving away from the region because of high housing prices.”In a category defined as “the miserable,” fully 85 per cent said they are “seriously considering leaving” because of the cost of owning a home.Some are coming to Chilliwack.