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Millionaire home ranks grow

North Shore Outlook, January 12, 2009

More posh homes in the Lower Mainland now have assessed values of more than $1 million, despite the ongoing slide in real estate prices.

That's because the province capped this year's assessments at the lowest value of the past two years, so the new numbers don't reflect the deteriorating market prices of the last several months.

Landcor Data Corporation, which analyzed the region's property assessments, still found 54,183 homes in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley top the $1-million assessment mark – an increase of 1.5 per cent from a year ago.

The increase is the result of construction of new seven-figure homes as well as renovation of existing homes that increased their value, Landcor president Rudy Nielsen said.

It's a modest change compared to a year ago, when the number of millionaire properties soared nearly 50 per cent as regional real estate prices were still rocketing towards their peak.

The largest numbers of $1-million-plus homes were counted in Vancouver (28,532), West Vancouver (10,679), Surrey (3,932), North Vancouver District (2,986), Richmond (1,910), Burnaby (1,886) and Langley Township (1,344).

The ranks thin out considerably for homes assessed in eight figures.

Vancouver had 31 homes worth more than $10 million, followed by 23 in West Vancouver, two each in Surrey and Richmond.

Nielsen predicts the drastic decline in the property market since last spring will eventually turn around with the rest of the economy.

But he admits it's a downturn like none he's seen before.

"I think we're going to have to hold on for a while in this market until we see an increase," he said, adding only those who are forced to sell are being hurt by the price drops.

He said prices in the Lower Mainland have long-term support because land development here is constricted by the mountains, ocean, and U.S. border – as well as the Agricultural Land Reserve.

"We just don't have that much land," he said. "In the long run we'll be back up to proper prices."

$1 million homes by city:

Abbotsford – 278
Burnaby – 1,886
Chilliwack – 54
Coquitlam – 715
Delta – 417
Langley City – 3
Langley Township – 1,344
Maple Ridge – 315
New Westminster – 69
North Vancouver City – 336
North Vancouver District – 2,986
Port Coquitlam – 55
Port Moody – 173
Richmond – 1,910
Surrey – 3,932
Vancouver – 28,532
West Vancouver – 10,679
White Rock – 499

– Source: Landcor Data Corp.