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Million Dollar club keeps growing

Jeff Nagel , Burnaby NewsLeader - January 4, 2008

The number of millionaire homes in the Lower Mainland climbed nearly 50 per cent over the past year.

And while Vancouver and West Vancouver again have the most homes assessed at more than $1 million, other cities are gaining at a faster clip.

The number of seven-figure properties more than doubled from a year ago in Richmond, Burnaby, North Vancouver, New Westminster and White Rock.

Landcor Data Corp. of New Westminster prepared the analysis for Black Press using newly released property assessments.

In total, 17,446 additional homes joined the million-dollar ranks in the Lower Mainland in 2008. Vancouver accounts for more than half of the 53,256 homes region-wide that now have millionaire status. West Vancouver makes up 20 per cent with 10,774 properties and Surrey accounts for seven per cent, or 3,679.

Burnaby has the fifth most million-dollar homes with 1,874. And there are just 69 in New Westminster.

Landcor president Rudy Nielsen said the growing number of homes worth $1-million-plus is no surprise.

“It’s going to keep increasing,” he said.

Nielsen notes Greater Vancouver is wedged between mountains, ocean and protected agricultural land and the region’s constraints on growth have driven prices steadily up.

“The land values are the key,” he said. “Over the next while you’re going to see a lot of teardowns where the land value exceeds the improvements.”

The trend will continue towards smaller lot sizes and building up, he said.

“Whatever land is available for development, you’re going to see developers going in there and developing it.”

Nielsen predicts there will be no collapse of housing prices here, as is happening in many U.S. markets as a result of the sub-prime mortgage crisis there.

“As a whole, I think western Canada is going to be pretty sound,” he said.

All of the top 10 priciest homes in both Vancouver and West Vancouver exceed $10 million in assessed value.

One house in each of those two cities tops $20 million.

Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond have top-valued homes between $6 and $7 million.

Burnaby’s priciest home is located at 7629 Burris St. The home’s assessment is for $6.389 million. The Landcor analysis also found four million dollar homes on Deer Lake Drive. In New Westminster, the most expensive residential property is at 1135 Salter St. and is assessed at $1.91 million.

The Lower Mainland now has 675 homes assessed at more than $5 million (up from 356 last year) and 103 assessed at more than $10 million (up from 50 last year.)

The $10-million-plus properties include 17 condos and nine townhomes.