November 29, 2023 West Coquitlam's Rapid Evolution in Real Estate Development


If you’re watching Metro Vancouver’s real estate market right now, you’re probably looking at West Coquitlam. Following in the footsteps of Burnaby's recent surge, West Coquitlam is experiencing an unprecedented uptick in its market. This area is bustling with development activity, setting the path for a promising future for residents and investors.  

October’s wave of project launches 

October marked a historic moment for Coquitlam with the simultaneous launch of five major projects, injecting nearly 900 condominium units into the market. This level of activity is unparalleled in the suburb's history, signifying a noteworthy shift in market dynamics and investor confidence. Three of those five are concrete builds that symbolize the start of much more action than individual buildings. Burquitlam Park District by Intergulf launched its first tower of a larger master planned community of the same name. Beedie launched Debut, the first of many in their large-scale master planned community on the Coquitlam waterfront, Fraser Mills. Magnolia is the first launch of Intracorp’s newest master planned community Gardena in Burquitlam. While these three buildings brought 750 units to the market this fall, they can be considered bellwethers for the massive expansion to come.  

In addition to the major concrete launches, the area saw two large wood frame projects come to market in October. Lodana by Circadian Group brings 123 condos and townhouses to the market, and Arcadia by Quantum Properties adds another 120 units over six floors. 

Unprecedented development activity for Coquitlam 

This surge of projects is a first for Coquitlam, the expression of a positive burgeoning interest in a market that's rapidly evolving. In the past 10 years, we have not seen this level of combined concrete and wood frame project launches in a one-month period. Previously, the suburb would see more staggered launches, with significantly fewer units introduced in a given period. 

At most, each product type has had three project launches in a two-month period, carrying approximately 200 to 400 units for wood frame, or 600 to 965 units for concrete product. 

The last comparable rush of activity in concrete product occurred in the summer months of 2022, when the market was just coming off its all-time high and interest rates were just beginning to increase. From June to July 2022, three projects were launched releasing 965 units into the market over two months. October’s activity nearly doubles that. 

Strong market absorption despite economic challenges 

Remarkably, despite a 400 basis point increase in interest rates compared to the summer of 2022, absorptions on this wave of new projects have been stronger than last year. One of the markers of a successful market response is same-month absorption rates. In a hot market, 20 to 30% same-month absorption is typical, while over 30% is considered a strong performance. The three projects that launched in the summer of 2022 successfully sold 30% of their units within three months. This equated to the absorption of just over 300 units in that period. 

In comparison, the three concrete projects launched in October of this year achieved 60% same-month absorption. That represents over 475 units absorbed in a single month, higher than summer of 2022 in both percentage of total units and number of units. This robust performance is particularly highlighted in the case of Lodana, which saw over 50% of its units absorbed in just the first few weeks post-launch. 

When placed next to other more slowly moving real estate markets, West Coquitlam’s flurry of activity showcases the area as one of the best-positioned suburbs. As we head into 2024, Coquitlam's strong performance is expected to shift the area’s evolving identity. With a diverse range of projects in scale and type, new developments are catering to different market segments. This has resulted in strong absorption rates despite economic headwinds, marking the territory as a key player in the region's real estate scene. With this growth, evidence is mounting that West Coquitlam is growing out of the shadow of its larger neighbours into a bustling real estate scene with energy and potential for residents and investors.