Vancouver’s top neighbourhoods

While not cheap, these are great options in a crazy market



From the April 2016 issue of the magazine.


best deals in real estate 2016

Vanier Park, Kitsilano, Vancouver (Michael Wheatley /Getty Images)

Lotusland truly is blooming. Despite news headlines decrying questionable sales tactics among agents and the possible impact of foreign investors, Vancouver’s real estate market remains hot, hot, hot—and continues to break price and sales records. Still, with warnings that this market may be overvalued, many people are concerned about the possibility of losing money when buying into this West Coast market.

The best way to mitigate the impact of a possible future price correction? Narrow your search to good-value neighbourhoods where prices haven’t quite hit the stratosphere. Bear in mind that value isn’t a synonym for cheap—it’s relative to the market you’re shopping in.

After analyzing more than 200 neighbourhoods, we found several communities that offer a chance for future appreciation, all of which have average prices above $1 million. In ­­Ambleside in West Vancouver—our top neighbourhood—a single detached home sold for an average of $2.25 million last year. Even at these prices, homes are still about 14% cheaper, on average, compared to surrounding communities. Moreover, these top neighbourhoods boast a 68% average five-year return—compared to the city’s 51% return for the same time period. While not cheap, our top picks are great options in a crazy market. See the full rankings below.    

Photo gallery: Top 25 Vancouver neighbourhoods »

Vancouver at a glance…

Average Neighbourhood Price $1,416,261 $1,145,244
Min $422,400 $673,900
Max $5,814,500 $2,249,300
Below $500K 10% 8%
Average 1-Year Return 26% 30%
Average 5-Year Return 51% 62%
Average Realtor Grade (Out Of 5) ★★★½ ★★★★

Top 5 neighbourhoods


Realtors’ bet

Walnut Grove, Langley

Langley has long been considered Vancouver’s burbs, but in the last decade the city has grown up. Beautiful new community centres and large new-build homes are attracting more families. In Walnut Grove, just north of Hwy 1, a 3,000-sq-ft home will fetch $1 million or more. But you can buy a house half that size for half the price, making it a relatively affordable option.

Top 25 neighbourhoods

*NR=Not rated

    Click here to see the full rankings for all 200+ Vancouver neighbourhoods.

    SOURCES: Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board; Fraser Valley Real Estate Board; Re/Max

    6 comments on “Vancouver’s top neighbourhoods

    1. Interesting analysis, a real eye opener. I’m a little surprised Tsawwassen didn’t crack the top 25 with the highest year over year gain over past year (over 40%), with strong continuing momentum and all the new infrastructure scheduled – 2nd biggest mall in Vancouver a few minutes away nearing completion, massive new bridge spanning the Fraser River and connecting North and South communities . A no brainer from my perspective, should be in top 10 at least!


    2. Your prices would be more helpful if it wasn’t the average but the starting point for a house. Westlynn, starting at 1.2 at the very bottom and most average houses at 1.5. The other prices seem way off as well.


      • Hi Anne,
        The HPI – home price index – is a statistic used by almost all big city real estate boards to determine the average sales price of homes in an area, after eliminating for the extremes. In theory, this HPI works by eliminating the highest priced and lowest priced home sales in your neighbourhood, to obtain a more accurate average for the community. Why? Because extreme high and low prices can severely impact sales averages when looking at smaller sample sets of data. For instance, if there are 10 sales in Westlynn and 8 were around the $650K mark and one was closer to $1.3M, the average would become distorted and end up closer to $710,000—or $60,000 higher than the more realistic $650K average for your neighbourhood’s housing stock. The HPI is intended to smooth out the extremes caused by outliers.

        That said, I must confess that when we went to examine our data only a mere few weeks after we crunched our neighbours, we were actually a bit shocked at how much prices had appreciated in Vancouver in that short time. Truth is the Vancouver market is appreciating at a fairly rapid clip and even four or six weeks lag can make a difference. Since we must standardize our data collection and analysis, we establish pre-set points at which we pull data. In this case, we limited ourselves to 2015 data…even though there were price appreciation between Dec. 31, 2015 and the day we hit the newsstand. As such, our results can seem out of step with current market conditions — particularly if you’re shopping/living in an area that’s appreciated recently. Hope this helps.




    3. Sorry to say, but very misleading, and unfortunately a wasted effort. This series seems strictly about investing not about living. Your ranking would be more useful if you broke it down to types of housing – condos, townhouses, detached houses, etc. If a neighborhood has many 1-bedroom condos, the price skews downwards. Totally useless for me – in the market for a family home. Good for investors, including many foreign ones I suppose, but houses should be portrayed, dare I say, as more practical: to be lived in. Not “Moneysense” for my needs, and I expect not for most of your readers either.


    4. You may wish to double check data for Van Heights.
      Looks like the townhouse avg price.
      Tear downs were 700k in 2009,/10
      2015 bottom price was 1M, avg price must be over 750k. or was it to be 1.75M?


      • Hi Kev,
        When we did our analysis we used data for the year ending 2015. In the first two months of 2016 we had already noticed a big jump in home prices; I am sure it’s jumped even higher since that time. So, I am not at all surprised that you notice a disconnect between listed and sold home prices in Van Heights right now vs. our data.
        Also, we use a HPI — a formula that was created by the real estate boards in an effort to smooth out average home prices by removing the outlier prices on either end of the scale—the low end and the high end.
        Hope this provides some context.


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