The recent release of PwC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate report reveals that Canadian real estate is shifting into a place of reinvention, something that is crucial to building sustainable and thriving communities across the region that people want to live, work and invest in.
At Abana Capital, we think the report’s emerging themes are especially key to housing and development in the Metro Vancouver area.
This particular report is consistently held in high regard as a resource, mostly due to the accuracy of its predictions and the valuable insight it provides. This year’s theme focuses on three ideas: rebalance, rethink, reinvent. Here’s how we think they pertain to Vancouver specifically:
The report emphasizes that this is a distinct time in history, where so many disruptive technologies are finally having a tangible impact on where and how we live and work. Almost nowhere in Canada does this have an impact like it does in Vancouver, where tech monoliths like Amazon and Microsoft are choosing to expand their operations and bring business to the city.
In general, the real estate industry is adapting to and embracing digital innovations, like the use of drones for land surveys or site inspections, or 3D printing, which allows people to see properties and projects before even completed.
E-commerce is rapidly changing retail and commercial markets, while driving a need for different types of real estate and development. Even self-driving cars might have the potential to change the way housing and neighbourhoods function.
All this change is being driven by consumers and buyers, who now have different needs for the spaces they occupy. This encourages developers to embrace these changes too, since it’s these buyers and consumers they’re building for.
Given that Vancouver is a city that embraces technological innovations, not to mention the increasing presence of tech companies looking to set up shop here, the region is primed for growth, although this brings us to another point: where will this growing population live? This is where the report’s next theme comes in.
To state the obvious, Vancouver’s high prices and low vacancy rates are problematic, especially when considered in the context of a potentially growing workforce. To address this, the report believes we need to rethink housing and real estate, which aligns perfectly with how Abana Capital views successful real estate investment.
A key part of rethinking, means building mixed-use developments that address growing needs of Vancouverites. This means building self-sufficient communities where it’s possible to live, work, play and learn; that not only have easy access to transit, but public spaces, recreation, cultural resources and infrastructure.
The report refers to this as “placemaking,” and it happens to be a focus of the projects Abana has successfully invested in, such as the burgeoning Surrey City Parkway and The Hill, which is central to the new Evergreen line SkyTrain.
Essentially, building more housing is only part of the equation in Metro Vancouver. We also need to build the best kind of housing and surrounding communities, which reflect the way people’s lives are changing. This is especially important if homes are going to become denser and smaller.
In essence, the report provides more evidence that life and work models are shifting in Vancouver; and throughout Canada as a whole. To encourage people to thrive here, we need to rethink both homes and communities, and embrace the way technology is shaping industries.