For Vancouverites wanting a country estate getaway, driving through heavy traffic to get to Langley can seem daunting.
But cut that commute down to 13 minutes, and suddenly Southern Langley living becomes very appealing.
In a new tactic to draw buyers from the big city out to mansions south of the Fraser River, Langley realtor Danny Evans is employing private helicopter rides.
Not only is it a short flight from Downtown Vancouver out to Langley — a service the prospective buyers can continue to use after they purchase the home — it also allows for a bird’s eye view of the property.
The tactic was used for the very first time by Evans in March at a $5.8 million home on 26 Avenue near 240 Street.
“It’s a really exclusive property, so a lot of the buyers even coming out of Vancouver want to know in a matter of minutes, how can they get out here?” Evans said.
“That was one of the big stumbling blocks, coming out of Vancouver to here. Well now it’s eliminated, because we can get them out of Vancouver and back to Vancouver in 13 minutes.”
Sitting on 20 acres of manicured grounds — which include a private lake and private walking trails — Evans knew the 8,766 square-foot, four bedroom, six bathroom home required special treatment.
Often used for filming movies, the house is a rarity on the market, with many custom features collected from around the world by the previous owners.
In the entry, guests are greeted by a delicately carved burnt cedar front door from the 1600s. Around the corner sit complimentary vintage bar doors from a pub in London, England. In the grand stairway, a one-of-a-kind 1920s chandelier from the New York Met Opera House hangs above, guiding guests down to a cozy cinema room that features a 1913 Kinemacolor Theatre Marquis from Vancouver’s very first movie house.
“It’s very rare,” Evans said.
“This is one of a kind — 36 years in the business I’ve never seen a property like that. The age, the vintage, all the finishings are just first class.”
If the house isn’t impressive enough, Evans says the ease of using a helicopter service puts the bar that much higher. He plans to use the service again on future estate homes that come on the market.
“The buyer gets the best of all worlds,” he said.
“They get their exclusivity, they get their privacy, and a property like that Vancouver-wise is running at $25-$30 million.”
It’s all part of a branching out trend Evans sees in all levels of the housing market, not just high-end. Those who originally bought in Tsawwassen, Richmond or Ladner are moving out into the Valley, and others who grew up in Langley are moving out to Chilliwack or Abbotsford.
“The buyers are coming from all over,” he said.
“And what they’re doing that’s really driving the economy is they’re buying a house for themselves, and then they’re helping their kids get into a house. So they’re selling their homes in Vancouver, and the Vancouver people are moving. Everyone is pushing out.”
In Langley, “the prices have gone up substantially,” Evans said. A home worth $600,000 has jumped up in price by $150,000 to $200,000.
“The market is just climbing and now I think it’s finally plateaued, but it’s still extremely active,” Evans said.
“It seems like the two main clients that I’m getting are families moving back together and people going up the Valley.
“It’s mind boggling, I’ve never seen it. I never thought I’d be selling homes in Chilliwack or in Abbotsford and now we are.”
According to data collected by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, in February the benchmark price for a detached home in Langley was $722,800 — up 23.4 per cent from February, 2015.
The benchmark price for a townhouse was $348,600 and an apartment was $219,600.
Across the Fraser Valley, home sales were up 79 per cent compared to February, 2015 (there were 2,387 sales). That’s 46 per cent over the 10-year average for February, and four per cent higher than the previous record for that month set in 1992 with 1,948 sales.