People from outside of Squamish pass through and see the potential: a beautiful town in the mountains, close to Whistler, close to Vancouver- but neither of those places. Get off of the Sea to Sky Highway to explore the local roads and you can see the change happening to this quiet place. In tune with the hot topic of the era in the Lower Mainland- the thought pattern and conversation then quickly shifts to real estate.
What is going on in with Squamish? It is a good place to invest in real estate?
The short answer? Squamish is rising in many ways and it is a great place invest, or better yet- LIVE.
Let’s break it down.
1. Population Growth
- The population of the District Squamish is expected to double from 20,000 to 40,000 people in the next 20 years based on studies in the Official Community Plan that was adopted in 2018. This future projected growth continues a trend from the past decade where Squamish has grown from 15,000 to 20,000 people, making it the fastest growing isolated municipality in British Columbia.
2. Work, Live, Play
- BC Business magazine ranked Squamish as the #1 Best City for Work in 2019. In 2018 and 2017, we ranked #3 and #1, respectively, so the positive trend is clear.
- The study took into account various indicators that included
- Household income
- Spending on recreation
- Shelter spending
- Value of primary real estate
- Commute time
- Population growth
- Housing starts
- Whether you agree with the methodology or not, the fact that Squamish has been on the proverbial podium for the last 3 years (Gold TWICE), is a testament to outsider confidence in our community.
3. Flowy Oceanside Commute
- 10 years ago, many Lower Mainlanders would have scoffed at the idea of a 45 minute daily commute. In 2019, it has become a new reality for a lot more people as affordability in the region is dispersing people further away from the commercial and entertainment core of Downtown Vancouver.
- Consider the example of someone that works in Downtown Vancouver that has decided to move to a more suburban location. They discover that to buy a property that suits their needs in their price range, they will have to drive 45 minutes or more.
- To find a home within 45-60 minute driving commute, one must look at the options near the perimeter of the highlighted areas map- Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Squamish.
- Of these options, Squamish commuters enjoy a relatively serene commute with minimal traffic congestion; savor your morning coffee, listen to a podcast or that new album to start and end your day with a relaxing cruise along the Sea to Sky Highway and Howe Sound.
4. Garibaldi at Squamish All Seasons Resort
Conceptual Artist Rendering of Garibaldi at Squamish (Garibaldi at Squamish)
- Plans for an all season resort, currently known as Garibaldi at Squamish, are in full swing. The resort, located just north of Squamish at Brohm Ridge, is expected to include downhill skiing, mountain biking access, a commercial village, hotels, and much more.
- The approval process is still a dynamic situation whereby an opening in the fall of 2025 is projected. Visit the project website for the latest information.
- Aquilini Development and Northland Properties are the main developers behind the proposed Garibaldi Resort project. They are both Vancouver based, Canadian companies with extensive holdings in various industries including the hospitality and entertainment sector. They also share the similarity of owning NHL franchises; Aquilini Group own the Vancouver Canucks and Northland Properties Corporation own the Dallas Stars.
5. Klahanie Resort
- A spectacular site that is situated between the Stawamus Chief and Howe Sound could be the future home of a five-star destination resort, hotel, restaurant and 33,000-square-foot spa. The owner has ambitions to build the largest spa in western Canada into the project.
- With Squamish lacking a true conference centre venue, introducing this type of space would bring a great variety of visitors and businesses to Squamish on a regular basis.
6. No Foreign Buyers Tax
- As of February 21, 2018, foreign nationals, foreign trustees, and taxable trustees must pay a tax that is equal is 20% of the fair market value upon transfer for residential properties in designated Regional Districts in British Columbia. Squamish is located in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, where this tax does not apply.
- In contrast, this tax does apply to neighbouring Regional Districts in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
- From an investment perspective, this is a clear opportunity moving forward as Squamish becomes more attractive to non-residents working in municipalities to the south and foreign buyers seeking vacation properties.
- For more information on this tax, please reference the Government of British Columbia’s Website.
7. The Revitalization of Downtown Squamish
- Squamish’s traditionally industrial waterfront area near Howe Sound is undergoing a massive overhaul with a couple of major projects underway. Bosa Properties’ Waterfront Landing and a partnership between the Squamish Nation & Squamish Cornerstone Developments’ Anchor Qea are creating mixed-use waterfront communities that will extend the existing downtown to the ocean.
- Further, with the new Official Community Plan, there are numerous smaller development projects in the works that are adding the increasing vibrancy. As more people and businesses move to Downtown Squamish you can count on a much more walkable, urban vibe that will become attractive to an entirely new demographic.
With so much positive change on the horizon, my advice is simple: buy and wait, don’t wait to buy.
To learn more about real estate investment opportunities in Squamish and the Sea to Sky Region, contact Nolan Rivers, your local Squamish Expert Real Estate Guide.
Also, check out 7 Reasons You Should Move to Squamish.