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Camping out to buy a condo

Effects of Greater Vancouver’s red hot real estate market evident in Willoughby this week as buyers lined up for days to purchase units
Potential buyers for condominiums in the final phase of the Yorkson Creek project began lining up last Sunday for first crack at the units, some of which are expected to cost as much as $450,000 or $500,000.

The red hot real estate market that has been breaking records all over Metro Vancouver has officially landed in Langley.

A real estate frenzy is taking place in Willoughby, with eager condo buyers camping overnight — or paying students to camp on their behalf — for the chance to buy a unit in the final phase of Yorkson Creek, at 208 Street and 82 Avenue.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Bev from Langley had been in line for three days, holding her spot outside the presentation centre, which has several tents on the lawn set up by the developer for other campers, bundled in sleeping bags on chairs.

“It’s crazy, it’s outrageous the degree we will go to, but I’m into it this long,” said Bev.

“The craziest part is they haven’t told us yet when we can purchase or even at what pricing, so we really don’t know anything or how long we will camp here.”

She, like so many, were enticed by the brochures Quadra Homes sent out through the mail to thousands of residents across Metro Vancouver and into West and North Vancouver.

“These condos are much bigger and the solariums allow for outdoor living during the winter,” she said.

Like many around her, Bev hired a student and paid them $10 an hour to sleep overnight to hold her spot.

“Once you leave your place in line, you are off the wait list,” a man waiting in line said.

Students from Walnut Grove Secondary, Mountain and others are cashing in on the easy job. Quadra Homes keeps the presentation centre open for them to use the washroom, supplies coffee and water and also provides dinners for the campers each night.

Yorkson Creek sales manager/realtor Amy Ellis said this isn’t the first time people have camped out to be part of the Yorkson Creek Park development which is in its final phase.

But given the buzz and growing number of campers this time, they are scrambling as best they can to release the condos faster.

“We don’t have the exact locations or the pricing structure yet. We didn’t expect to be ready until the middle of the May so now we are scrambling to release them sooner, so people don’t have to camp so long,” she said.

Ellis said it started Sunday at 6 a.m. when one man decided he wasn’t going to wait on the online VIP list, he was going to come to the presentation and camp out in person.

Many followed after that.

Ellis said what sets the luxury condos apart is there are no one bedroom units, they are all two to three bedroom with the largest unit being 1,600 square feet with a 200 square-foot solarium.

As many as 1,500 people registered, sight unseen, on the VIP list — many from North Vancouver and Vancouver she said.

“In North Van, $700,000 would get you a rat’s nest. This is good prices for a lot of space,” she said.

But a lot of the people The Times spoke to in line are residents of Langley who have sold their acreage or larger home and are downsizing.

A price tag of $450,000 or $500,000 for a three-bedroom condo is good value, given equity they have.

One Langley man waiting in line already has a condo in the earlier phase of this project. He can sell his for $40,000 more than he paid for it last year.

Students from Trinity Western University were studying while camping out, others from high school were playing cards and  relaxing.

“We have runners who will go and pick up dinner. The developer hands out gift cards for food to the campers,” said Ellis. On Wednesday afternoon, they were passing out doughnuts.

There are 128 units up for grabs in the two five-storey buildings.

Elsewhere in  Langley, single family homes with million dollar price tags are being snapped up — many going over the asking price in bidding wars.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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