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Five Secure ’Hoods for Condo Investors

It's time to pick your make-a-stand location in Metro Vancouver because it’s about to get hostile out there in the condo investment market. Frank O'Brien offers five solid bets for condo investors.
Hastings Vancouver

Metro Vancouver’s condominium market has been a fairly easy route to riches for investors over the past five years, but the next few months will separate the posers from the players, the winners from the losers.

As political rhetoric harnesses to political interference, it is going to get ugly out there for all but the smart, nimble and well financed.

A hefty new tax on foreign buyers, restrictions on speculation, tougher mortgage regulations, the threat of higher interest rates this fall, subsidized rental competition and daunting entry prices make it harder for condo investors to make a decent buck. 

It is time to buckle down to the basics, and that means location. You should be picking a high ground now to face a more hostile environment.

These are Metro Vancouver communities with better opportunity for investors in resale condominium apartments. The selection is based on basics: transit, livability, price appreciation, foreign investors and selection, plus the wild-card "cool factor".

These five neighbourhoods offer flippers the best potential for quick cash-on-cash returns and long-term investors a sure shot at steady, and rising, rental income.

#1. Hastings, East Vancouver

Benchmark condo prices in this gentrifying area have soared 25 per cent from a year ago but are holding at $345,000. This area benefits from strong rental demand, great water and mountain views, a millennial-enthused cool factor, modern condos and an express bus service to Simon Fraser University.

#2. Grandview, East Vancouver

Benchmark condo prices are up 31 per cent from mid-2015 at $384,000. SkyTrain links at VCC-Clark and Commercial-Broadway, plus Vancouver Community College and Commercial Drive’s cool factor combine with long-term rental demand from the upcoming Emily Carr campus and St. Paul’s Hospital. The new Broadway line will increase transit convenience even further for those on the VCC-Clark side of this 'hood.

#3. Marpole, Vancouver

Benchmark prices are $404,900 for a typical condo, up 16 per cent from a year ago. Two Canada Line stations and one more coming, eager foreign buyers, and the pending massive redevelopment of the Oakridge Transit Station make this a long-term play with lowest entry price point on Vancouver’s West Side.

#4. Uptown New Westminster

Benchmark prices jumped 19 per cent from a year ago but are holding at $285,900, unchanged in three months. This area is up-trending with good SkyTrain bus links, great shopping, a gelling cool factor and steady rental demand.

#5. Steveston, Richmond

Benchmark prices are up about 20 per cent from mid-2015, but you can still find condo apartments under $325,000. A trendy, historic beach and park area, strong foreign buyer influence, plus Canada Line links and future potential of the new Fraser River bridge offer potential for short-term speculation and long-term investors.