Mom-and-pop investors lead blowout sale of 365 condos

Central Surrey’s Flamingo tower a near sell-out in weekend buyer blitz

Rendering of the 35-storey Flamingo condo tower in central Surrey virtually sold in a single weekend. It is scheduled to be completed in 2025 | Submitted

The developer of central Surrey’s 35-storey Flamingo condo tower claims that parents investing for their children were largely responsible for a $200 million buying blitz in which all but 10 of the tower’s 375 condos sold out in 20 hours during the November 20-21 weekend.

“We had a lot of moms and dads buying for their kids,” said Charan Sethi, president and founder of Tien Sher, of the near sell-out of the first of three residential towers his company is building on a 4.5-acre site on King George Highway that once held the Flamingo Hotel.

The parents, he said, were buying mostly studio and one-bedroom units, priced from approximately $320,000, either for their children’s immediate use or to hold as rental units and a hedge against rising home prices. Flamingo condo units range from 325 square feet up to 1,782, and, even at per square-foot-prices of more than $940, they are considered affordable for new concrete construction product in Metro Vancouver.

The Flamingo won’t be completed until 2025, and Sethi suspects Surrey condo prices will be higher by that time.

The average price of a condo apartment in central Surrey, which is a SkyTrain hub and the city’s commercial and civic core, had increased 17.5% from a year earlier to $456,000 as of October 2021, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. Meanwhile, active listings of resale condo apartments in central Surrey have plunged 34% year over year.

Sethi noted that labour and construction costs are increasing, and Tien Sher has been warehousing roofing and other building materials for months as protection against rising prices. Buyers at the Flamingo, he said, can put down 20% to secure their unit at today’s price and complete the purchase when the tower is completed in about two and half years.

Mothers were not the only Flamingo investors. Vancouver’s Real Estate Investment Group (REAG) was also active at the Flamingo’s launch, which was heavily promoted by REAG founder Ozzie Jurock. REAG members have bought up to 20% of Tien Sher’s Surrey condo projects in the past, according to Sethi.

“We have done very well with Tien Sher projects,” Jurock said.

The success of the first tower has persuaded Sethi to move up the launch of the second phase of the overall Flamingo development, which includes two mixed-use towers with more than 500 condominium units. Tien Sher plans to begin marketing them early in 2022.