Building starts on one of the last big condo blowouts

Last November 365 condos sold out at Surrey’s Flamingo tower in a single weekend

The 35-storey Flamingo tower is scheduled to be completed in 2025 | Photo: Tien Sher

On May 16, Tien Sher Group of Companies broke ground on the 35-storey Flamingo tower in Surrey, which sold out 365 condos last November in a weekend blitz

The Flamingo may be among the last of the condo blowouts for some time, according to Ozzie Jurock, a real estate consultant and an investor in Flamingo pre-sales condos.

“The froth is off the market.” Jurock said. Along with the low-rise 193-unit Radley in Surrey, by West Fraser Developments Ltd., which quickly pre-sold last year, Jurock suggested the Flamingo “is probably the last big weekend sellout that we’ll see for a while.”

Metro Vancouver condo pre-sales began to soften about a week prior to the anticipated 50 basis point increase in the Bank of Canada lending rated in early April, noted Pete Ryznar of Ryznar Media Inc., which works with many large developers.

Since 2005, Tien Sher Group of Companies and Charan Sethi have been developing in Surrey’s Whalley district. The 35-storey Flamingo is the next phase.

“We have been rebuilding Whalley for the last 17 years, and we are now taking the next step of the revitalization with Flamingo One – the first of four towers which will visibly welcome visitors and residents into Surrey City Centre as they drive up King George Highway from the Pattullo Bridge,” Tien Sher president Sethi said. “We’ve designed a walkable community to bring 3,000-plus residents and number of new businesses to the neighbourhood.”

Sethi claims that parents investing for their children were largely responsible for a $200 million buying blitz that saw all but 10 of the tower’s 375 condos sell out in 20 hours during the November 20–21, 2021, weekend.

The parents, he said, were buying mostly studio and one-bedroom units, priced from approximately $320,000, either for the children’s immediate use or to hold as rental units and a hedge against rising home prices.

Flamingo condo units range from 325 to 1,782 square feet, and, even at per square-foot-prices of more than $940, they were 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.

Pre-sale buyers may have already benefitted from price appreciation since the Flamingo’s sellout. The average price of a Central Surrey condo apartment has increased 41 per cent to $593,000 as of April 2022 compared with a year earlier, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. •