Yep, those city folks are moving east, buying bigger homes, and finally getting that backyard big enough to host a weekend BBQ in.
Being long-time Langley realtors, we’re usually first in line to chat with people about why they are making the move and having talked to so many, we decided to share what we’ve learned from them, along with some helpful tips on what to think about and how best to make the move.
If you are thinking about making the move, feel free to also pick up the phone and give us a call. We’re happy to share everything we learned and let you know what you need to consider before you do.
With that, let’s look at the top reasons why Vancouverites are making the switch to the suburbs.
The Top Reasons Why Vancouverites Are Making The Switch To The Suburbs
Reason 1. Bang for Buck.
The first reason we see a lot of people move from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley is bang for buck. Without a doubt, your money goes further in the Fraser Valley – especially when it comes to real estate.
With the average home price in Vancouver going for $1.4M (August 2020) compared to Surrey ($890K, August 2020), Langley ($850K, August 2020), and Chilliwack ($580k, August 2020), there is no question that you get way more for your money in the Fraser Valley.
To put this into house terms, while a million dollars in Vancouver might get you a medium-sized downtown condo with a cute 100 square foot patio, in the Valley, that same million will get a detached single-family home with a yard big enough to throw a family barbeque.
And don’t worry if condos are your thing, we have plenty. They just won’t cost you a million dollars.
As seen above, the further you get away from Vancouver, the further your money goes.
If you’re buying a home in Langley, a million dollars will get you a great detached Langley starter home, complete with a decent sized yard that’s perfect to raise your family.
If you’re willing to head as far east as Chilliwack, you’ll be waking up each day to a large house on an even larger lot, complete with a full garage and likely even a shop set-up if that’s your thing.
Either way, it’s going to be a dream come true not having to fight for parking. That is, of course, unless you’re headed to the Costco parking lot on a Saturday morning.
In which case, good luck!
You’re going to need it!
Reason 2. Growing A Family.
The second reason we see many people move from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley is that they are growing their family.
Many young people move into the city as young professionals. In their early 20s, they are drawn to the opportunities, the energy, and the nightlife. The style of living is perfect for them at that time in their life, and it is nice to be surrounded by others in the same space in their life.
For many of our clients, they actually left the suburbs to try out city life.
Then, at some point, generally in their late-20s or early-30s, we notice a shift. They find a partner-in-crime, and the prospect of marriage and a family enters the conversation.
As they begin to look at the valuation of property and size of Vancouver condos and houses, they realize that a move to the Valley tends to make a lot of economic and family sense.
The tight spaces of Vancouver condos just don’t cut it anymore. There isn’t enough room for young children to grow and play, and safety becomes more of a focus and issue.
And with that, our phone rings.
Partners and parents explore the possibility of moving to the Valley and realize that it makes a lot of sense from a financial and a family-planning perspective.
They learn the schools are good, their kids can all have separate bedrooms, and they will have a little bit of extra cash each month to cover the unexpected costs of having children.
For many of our clients, they also move back to be closer to their support network. We have had many friends move back to the Valley to be closer to their parents and the children’s grandparents. Childcare is expensive, so many recruit their parents to help out where they can.
The Ability to Work Remotely.
The third reason we see many people move from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley is that they no longer have to be in the office every day, and they can move to the suburbs without a daily commute.
COVID-19 has changed everything as we know it and many professionals that used to be tied to the office have been given the freedom to work from anywhere.
Many of them have realized that they don’t need to be in an office every day and commuting once in a while is not as big of a deal as doing it daily.
With office policies rapidly changing, we’ve had an influx of people exploring what life in the Valley could be like and realizing that both their dollar goes further and their monthly expenses drop.
We’ve also noticed that when clients are shopping for a home, they are now looking at an extra bedroom that they can use as a quiet, separated office space, which is changing the way people are shopping for a home.
More Space aka Much Less Crowded.
The fourth reason we see people moving out to the Fraser Valley is that they desire more space and fewer crowds.
It’s no secret that cities are congested with all sorts of cars, taxis, people, sporting events, festivals, and siren-blasting emergency response vehicles, etc. If you’ve lived there, we are sure you’ve experienced all of it.
The suburbs are much less populated and allow for more space between neighbours, and a little more peace and quiet.
This might not suit someone in their early 20s, but many of our late-20s and early-to-mid 30-year-old clients are craving it.
It’s not just the lack of people. Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack are home to hundreds of parks, greenways, and wide-open spaces that you just can’t find in a major city. All that fresh air and open space is good for the soul.
Of course, it also means that you will definitely need a vehicle to get from place to place, so consider that before you make the move. But with lower home prices, you should have a little extra room in the budget for it.
There’s Actually A Lot of Opportunities.
Believe it or not, not all business is done in Vancouver.
A lot of it happens out in the valley. Many large Vancouver companies have major satellite offices located in Surrey and Langley, as they know many of their employees live out here and don’t want to commute the 60+ minutes per day.
Over the years, we’ve had many clients get a promotion that moves them out to Surrey or Langley, or they transfer to another Valley-based location within the same company.
It’s something that a lot of people think about doing, but never actually make the jump.
If you’re thinking about moving to the Valley, we recommend exploring what opportunities exist both in your company and your current career field. There might be a lot more than you think.
And just a friendly reminder that if you are switching companies altogether, make sure you speak to a mortgage broker about your options before diving in. Many lenders require you to be at the same job for a minimum of two years.
What To Consider When Moving To The Valley?
Now, if you’re thinking about moving out to Langley, Surrey, or anywhere else in the Fraser Valley, we recommend you think it through thoroughly.
There are many considerations and a diligent approach to working through them will ensure you end up in a place you love, with a lifestyle that fits your current and future needs.
To help you out and make sure you’re asking the proper questions, we’ve put together some of our top considerations to think about, taken from years of experience helping clients move out to Langley.
Take some time to work through the questions, and then ask your realtor to help guide you to an area right for you.
And if you’re interested in learning more about Langley, check out our Langley Neighborhood Guides, which showcase each of the distinct Langley neighbours in detail – from the perspective of a couple of long-time locals.
Our Top Considerations
Where do you work and how far is the commute?
We recommend that you map out where you work, how long it’s going to take to get there, and which cities fit into a personally-defined comfortable commute length that fits into a lifestyle you’re happy with. Using Google Maps will give you a good sense of what your day-to-day routine will end up looking like.
Also, with the changing landscape of COVID-19, explore what your office policies are and what they might look like in the future. Many of our clients who thought they’d never be able to work from home suddenly can.
What are the schools like in the area?
Everyone wants their kid to go to a good school. We recommend exploring the schools in the area you are interested in and ensuring they have a good reputation and will provide your kids with ample growth opportunities. We also recommend exploring what extracurricular activities are offered, and what child-care options are available.
What is crime like in the area?
It might easy to lump a whole city into a single crime rate in our minds, but different areas of different cities have very different crime rates. If you’re interested in Langley, check out our neighbourhood guides.
What will my budget get me in this area?
Yep, it almost always comes down to budget.
Ensure you know yours and then explore what your budget will afford you – and if it is what you want. Although coming from Vancouver, we are almost sure you will be upgrading.
What is the community like in this area?
The quality of your relationships is one of the most important factors in your quality of life. Explore the communities you’re interested in and consider whether its a community that fits your lifestyle. The more aligned that is, the happier you will be with the move.
What will I be missing when I move from Vancouver that I can’t get out in the Valley?
As much as we love the Valley, we admit that there are some things that you just can’t get out here. Make a list of everything you love about Vancouver and then do a quick Google search to see what you will still have to head into the city for.
Knowing this before you make the move helps set your expectations properly.
Will I have to buy a vehicle?
There’s a possibility that you can get by without a vehicle, but for most of our clients, they find it much easier to have a vehicle. With more space and things much further apart than Vancouver, it just makes life easier. For many of our clients, the decreased cost of living more than makes up for the vehicle’s cost. Plus, they got the freedom of wheels now!
Will I be able to get a location that makes sense?
You’ve heard it before, but the saying still rings true: location, location, location.
Make sure the location you’re moving to works great for you AND is in a desirable or upcoming location so that you can maximize your property value.
We recommend hiring a well-known local realtor that can help you sort out where these locations are in your desired city.
Imagining Your Life In The Valley
It’s an exciting moment when you park your car in your own garage instead of shared underground parking.
It’s pretty cool cutting your own lawn for the first time.
You’ll love waving at your neighbours across the street rather than riding in a cramped elevator with them.
You’ll most likely end up with a Costco membership and get to know the staff at Home Depot because you’ll be buying tools to maintain your home.
You’ll enjoy the privacy of having your own space, and a little peace and quiet go a long way for the soul.
You’ll be able to have the kids play in the backyard and have their friends over, and know they are safe.
And don’t worry, just like in Vancouver, you’ll get to know your barista, you may just have to drive to get there.
All jokes aside, we love living in the Valley.
The people are friendly, the air is fresh, and there is plenty of space to get outside and enjoy some fresh air or time away. Downtown Langley is a bustling place with tons of cool restaurants anytime you need that city vibe.
So, if you’re ever considering moving out of Vancouver and out to the Fraser Valley and/or Langley, pick up the phone and give us a call – we’d be happy to find you the perfect house and put a possibly put a little cash in your pocket.