On July 9th, the province of B.C. and the Federal Government formally announced funding to support the expansion of the SkyTrain to Langley City. The $3.95 billion 16 km elevated track Expo Line extension will have 8 stops starting at King George Station and finishing at 203rd Street in Langley City. Under the slogan “Better transit. Cleaner air. More jobs.”, the project plans to connect people on the East side of the Fraser River to more employment, housing, and education options through a faster, more environmentally friendly transportation alternative.
This extension is estimated to support 62,000 daily riders and shorten the average commute time to 22 minutes. With early work already underway, the construction is slated to begin in early 2022, having the SkyTrain operational by 2025.
After years of expectation, it is exciting to have the formal commitment from governments and municipalities for the go-ahead of the SkyTrain expansion. Despite not having the formal announcement until earlier this month, we have seen land prices steadily increase and developers such as Beech Westgard make significant commitments to open up areas for development like the Anniedale-Tynehead neighbourhood.
Beech Westgard’s decision to front the $35 million infrastructure cost has contributed to land prices going from around $2.5 million to over $4 million per acre in some transactions. We have also seen immense interest in Langley City before the announcement, which has led to many low and mid-rise sites being acquired. Langley City’s pro-development leadership and quick application processes are additional underlying factors creating interest from developers.
Along the Fraser Highway, activity and prices continue to trend up as densification is expected to expand. The City of Surrey presented the “Surrey-Langley SkyTrain Supportive Policies Agreement” to the provincial government, promising increased density along the corridor through updates to existing Land Use Plans.
As the development land market boomed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reached a point over the last 6 months where the gap between Sellers asks and Buyers’ top lines have widened. We have seen Buyers begin to tighten up and pull back so it will be interesting to monitor the eagerness of Buyers post this SkyTrain extension announcement.
The long-awaited and expected SkyTrain announcement is finally here, and the widening of the Fraser Highway is set to begin right away in both Surrey and Langley. The effect on development land value surrounding the future SkyTrain route will increase as Buyers will be looking to acquire land before it’s all gone. Surrounding markets such as West Clayton have seen increased prices – primarily because of the pending trunk line but not without considering its proximity to the future SkyTrain.
Beyond the current market staying hot, the promise of future densification surrounding the SkyTrain will surely push land prices to new highs. Expect landowners to continue to demand record highs as they cash in on their land; creating a very interesting situation to watch as it unfolds in the coming months and years. Despite the increase in land prices, acquiring development land along the future SkyTrain corridor will surely result in profitable sites as end product retail values also continue to climb on a consistent trajectory.
Feel free to reach out to Josiah Cockrill or Wells Macey for future discussion if you have questions regarding the future SkyTrain expansion or development land along this expansion.
City of Surrey
Photo Credit: Ana Iammatteo