Land assemblies gaining traction in Richmond

Land assemblies in Richmond BC

Builders and developers looking for viable residential developments are increasingly turning to townhouse construction along Richmond’s arterial roads, according to two long-time Richmond realtors.

“In many ways the townhouse is the new single-family home,” said realtor Martin Dash. Together with his business partner, Carmen McCracken, Dash is putting together a land assembly on Steveston Highway to market to developers. The four-home land assembly is one of the three on Steveston Highway, sandwiched between Railway Avenue and No. 2 Road.

A land assembly is created when neighbouring owners of single-family properties that are zoned for townhouses decide to sell their lots collectively to a townhouse developer. Realtors will often approach homeowners directly to bring awareness to such opportunities.

“Three or four years from now we’ll see a steady stream of townhouses between Railway and No.2,” McCracken said.

Land assemblies are gaining traction in the area following the City of Richmond’s recent amendment to its Official Community Plan, which allows for more townhouse zones along these main roads.

While the townhouse is viewed as a more affordable housing option on the open market, land assemblies also raise the value of land.

“When you get a number of homes in a row that has potential for development, then the land value increases because the developer can build more homes,” Dash said.

He’s trying to market the four homes at a premium price to a developer, though the fourth homeowner has yet to agree to a price.

Dash and McCracken determine the value for the land assembly based on market trends, and calculate the allowed buildable square footage of an assembled lot to estimate how many townhouse units can be built on it.  

In such a hot real estate market, Dash and McCracken said final sale prices of the single-family homes may not always reflect the final townhouse listing prices. This is because land assemblies take longer to be finalized and townhouse developments also take longer to construct. As a result, it may take two to three years after the land assembly deal is reached to see construction completed.

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