Growing up I didn’t give much thought to where I came from. I knew I loved being close to the beach and that it rained a lot. I was born and raised in the burbs and that was that, nothing too exciting. It wasn’t downtown and it wasn’t the middle of nowhere, it was just Surrey; in many ways I thought of where I grew up as sort of ‘blah’.
Fast forward a decade or so and my attitude has done a 180. Now living in Delta I’ve moved just outside the city I grew up in and have watched it begin to change and evolve; I have a new appreciation for the place I called home for most of my life. As an adult I recognize some of the benefits of being from Surrey: it’s central, surrounded by natural beauty (you can’t beat those views of the North Shore Mountains and Mount Baker on a clear day), and made up of a diverse population; things you take for granted or simply don’t care about as a kid. And it’s potentially only going to get better. It isn’t perfect- nowhere is- but so much is changing in a positive direction that it’s hard to ignore.
I knew plenty of people as I grew up who weren’t proud to say they were from Surrey. It just wasn’t the place you wanted to tell people about- especially as a girl (see this post)- but I’m seeing that shift. I really love where I’m from and know others who talk about the positives of growing up where we did and are now raising their own families there. The City is changing- I’d say for the better- and I hear about it regularly from my realtor brother who keeps close tabs on it’s progress. Living in the Lower Mainland, affordable housing is a challenge and it’s something he is now addressing with his clients- whether first time home buyers or seasoned incumbents looking for investment properties- and since this is something I know many struggle with, we wanted to share a few reasons why the City we grew up in has way more to offer than people may realize.
I’m excited to team up with Steven to share about some of these changes and hopefully help shine a light on why it’s a great place to call home no matter what stage of life you’re in. I asked him to show me some of the changes happening in the City and we spent an afternoon checking out the City Centre and touring a local town house development so I could get a deeper understanding. He’s sharing the 3 things he thought people should know about Surrey and why it’s a great place to call home below. It’s amazing how you think you know a place, but working on this post with him I learned and saw things about the City I grew up in that I had no idea about.
Here are the 3 things to know about the City that raised us:
- Reputation. When you ask people about Surrey, the answer doesn’t tend to shine a positive light on the City. Surrey has often had a bad reputation, especially with those who didn’t grow up there; unless you’ve seen the good side of it for yourself, the City is judged before it’s given a fair chance. Many people tend to have a negative perspective on the city as a whole, failing to notice the changes that are now being made everyday to transform Surrey into a world- class city alongside the likes of Vancouver.
- Surrey is currently undergoing a major transformation and with soaring house prices throughout the Lower Mainland, is attracting attention from those who would have previously looked outside of the City for living options. Improvements are diverse, ranging from affordable living options for families, to luxury condo developments- including the 52- storey Civic Plaza high rise in the City centre. The City of Surrey has taken steps to appeal to buyers- whether first time purchasers, or those already established in the property market- aiming to provide an affordable quality lifestyle. For those considering a move, Surrey is an ideal locale providing affordable options that will only increase in value as the City continues its transformation.With more than 600 hectares of land, Surrey already boasts a variety of appealing benefits for those who choose to live or set up business there, including: 101 elemantary schools,
19 secondary schools,
Easy access to SFU and other post secondary institutions including a new 30000 square foot space at KPU
University campuses including SFU and KPU
Accessibility- 35 minute commute to downtown from City centre
Continuing to invest in and build major developments (60 major projects have been completed since 2000 involving ambitious changes to the City Centre including a new library, city hall, and plans to improve the local rec center and public transit)
- 2. Growth. What about growth makes an area appealing? When a community undergoes major changes, there are underlying benefits that come in a variety of forms:Population growth requires the ongoing construction of new housing and civic facilitiesNew buildings bring a fresh appeal to the area for both residents and businesses
Transit and community programs expand to accommodate the growing population
The local economy expands and diversifies as new businesses are attracted to the area, providing employment and commerce opportunities
- Attracts the next generation of young professionals as the local economy grows and expandsWhile major changes are happening to the City’s centre, efforts are being made throughout Surrey and it is anticipated that by 2041 it will surpass Vancouver as the most populated city in BC, welcoming an estimated 300,000 new residents every year. Surrey is a great example of civic growth, with plans to improve public transit (the City has committed 2 billion dollars over the next 10 years to this alone) and construct an electric Light Rail Transit (LRT) that will help more than 195,000 residents get to where they need to be everyday. The current gem of all the development in the City’s core is 3 Civic Plaza, a $150 million project that will result in a 52- storey multi- use building that will include a 144- room hotel, 349 apartments, and 5 floors of office space.
- 3. Affordability. This is one of- if not the– most talked about topics when it comes to real estate in the Lower Mainland and there is a lot of stigma surrounding it. But the truth is, Surrey offers a variety of affordable options with benefits that cost a premium in other markets, such as Vancouver.
Some of the perks of living here include:It’s an excellent market to take advantage of the 5% down payment helper Accessibility to public transit (with plans to improve it over the coming years, see above)
Value for dollars spent compared to Vancouver
Numerous new community developments throughout the City + more than 1,300 businesses located around the City centre alone
Lower strata fees in newer buildings
Million dollar views under $500,000 (how beautiful are all those mountains?)
- Variety- condos, town homes, and detached housing provide options for everyone from first time home buyers to established home owners and property investors, with new developments throughout the City
Whether Surrey is your home or you’re thinking about moving and considering your options, I hope this showcases the changes the City is making and demonstrates it’s appeal. There is more to Surrey than many people realize and sometimes it’s about giving a place a chance before you judge it. With all of the changes and improvements around the City Centre and throughout Surrey, it’s an optimal time to invest in this market as it begins to draw attention and appeal to a wider selection of buyers and investors. And as the saying goes, ‘The future lives here’.
A big thank you to my brother, Steven, for providing insight and information for this post. I learnt a lot about Surrey as we worked on this together and his passion for real estate and the City of Surrey shone through the whole process. If you’ve got questions about the local market or are considering buying/ selling in the area, he’s a wealth of knowledge and a proud member of the community. If you want to learn more about his real estate services, see below.
Facebook: Steven Miller- Real Estate Specialist
For more information about The Surrey Girl Project, click here.
Information source: Surrey.ca