The still-expanding population of the West Shore, led by a province-leading growth rate in Langford, is driving the creation of services and amenities in the area.
While the market for single-family homes remains strong, not everyone is quite ready to plonk down their cash and take on a mortgage.
Certain developers on the West Shore are well aware of that and as such, are constructing rental buildings to take up the slack among newcomers to the area.
Westridge Landing, the Wansbrough family’s 3.86-acre property at Wale and Wilfert roads in Colwood, has been developed in various phases since 2009 when Lee Valley Tools and Eagle Rise Animal Hospital opened up. The current phase is even more ambitious, with a 63-unit rental building called Legacy well underway and a Holiday Inn Express next door also in the works.
Lloyd Wansbrough, vice-president of construction and tenant relations for Westridge, says building condos on the sprawling site has been “in the background” for a while, but the idea was shot down when discussed by family members.
“I think in building condos, you stick your neck out so much,” he says. “I think we’re a unique company in that we own the land, we’ve been here so long and there’s lots of equity here.”
Creating one-, two- and three-bedroom rental units on top of the ground-floor commercial space made more sense given their company philosophy, he says.
“It’s more in our wheelhouse. We want to protect our property and pass it along to our kids,” he says.
Wansbrough, a renter who doesn’t want a yard and the extra maintenance of an owned home, figures there will always be a mix of renters and homeowners here.
Interestingly, of those who have signed up for suites in the building, many are older adults, he says, pointing to proximity to the Galloping Goose trail, Juan de Fuca rec and seniors’ centres and Western (bus) Exchange as advantages.
Malcolm Hall, president of Langford-based Daxco Developments, has been in the rental building business since 1990. When his six-storey, 51-unit building The Waverly comes on stream this fall at 594 Goldstream Ave. it’ll give his company six purpose-built rental properties. Another is due to break ground next to The Waverly next year.
“Right now it makes sense for people to rent, because property values are falling,” he says, adding the glut of condos for sale here simply makes it unwise to build more.
Unlike many traditional building layouts, Hall’s company continues to include family oriented, three-bedroom suites in his buildings, as well as smaller configurations.
Among other rental projects going up in Langford include a building on Station Road at Jacklin Road and on Hockley Avenue next to the Village Walk West apartments.
West Shore Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Craig Sorochan said the area has seen more rental buildings built since the slowdown in condo sales forced developers to rethink their strategies.
Having more affordable options for people who aren’t able to buy is another way local municipalities can attract people to the area, he said.
“It’s a good fit for people who are commuting out here to work.”
Q: WHERE SHOULD I GO IF I’M LOOKING TO RENT A PLACE?
It’s easy to look up suites for rent on the usedvictoria.com’s of the world, but there are professionals available to help find the rental property that fits your needs.
Property management companies such as Brown Brothers, Devon Properties and Proline Management are well-known around Greater Victoria for their work with large apartment buildings.
As well, some companies better-known for providing real estate sales services are also in the property management end of things. Pemberton Holmes and Duttons and Co. are names that come to mind among those that offer a variety of services.
Allowing people with knowledge about the industry help in your search can lead to finding a suite that is right for you and within your budget. For a list of property managers’ websites visit the Victoria Real Estate Board at vreb.org/vreb/rentals.html.
GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » AS OF JULY 28/14 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD
» 576 / 583 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES/ TOTAL, JULY 2013
» 1,032 / 1,213 — NEW LISTINGS/TOTAL, JULY 2013
» 4,581 / 4,772 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS/ PEAK, JULY 2013