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Squamish takes the heights in home price increases

With home prices ascending faster than anywhere in Metro Vancouver, Sea-to-Sky city has more than Chief climbers heading for the top

Squamish, B.C. is landmarked by the Stawamus Chief, a towering 720-metre sheer-rock mountain which has challenged the world’s top climbers, but it is the calibre of residential development is setting the standard for the Sea-to-Sky community.

“Squamish is set between the world’s best ski hill and the world’s best city,” said veteran developer Lorne Segal, president of Kingswood Properties, “and it is on one of top 10 road trips in the world, according to National Geographic.”

Kingswood is building Redbridge at Squamish, an uber luxury resort-like residential strata project between the base of the Chief and the Howe Sound waterfront. The phased development includes 435 homes, including condominiums and villas, and a 20,000-square foot ‘Base Camp’ amenity centre with world-class amenities.

Squamish has been discovered by Lower Mainland home buyers. November condo prices in the community posted a 31 per cent increase from a year earlier, to $606,800, the highest price increase in Metro Vancouver, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.  Detached house prices in Squamish, at $1.44 million, are up 27 per cent from November of 2020.

Redbridge condo units start at around $850,000, yet when marketing launched this summer, 275 units sold out in seven days, Segal said. The first phase completes in 2024.

In fact, the first and second phases are already sold out. Marketing has started on the Peak, the final of the three condo buildings and Tide, a limited release of waterfront villas, priced well into six figures.

Segal said the plan was not to make a lot of money at Redbridge and, that while the explosion of interest in Squamish is not surprising, the speed of it is. He explained he started planning Redbridge in 2005 after stopping in the town on his way to Whistler. “I see it as a legacy project.”

“It has been a non-stop journey. It hasn't been the easiest thing to get the project approved. It has gone through several iterations. But we just kept plowing through, expanding, acquiring additional land,” he said.

Squamish is B.C.’s preeminent emerging market, according to Segal. It has amazing outdoor activities, pursued by young climbing and skiing enthusiast, and is within 50 minutes of both downtown Vancouver and Whistler, he said.

Then there is the planned $3.5 billion four-season Garibaldi at Squamish ski resort, which received provincial government proposal in 2006 and, according to proponents, could be open five years, if all requirements are met.

“Garibaldi is backed by the Aquilini Group, and you know they aren’t going away either,” Segal said.