Assignment Deals Still Available

Nicola Way, for The Vancouver Sun
June 19, 2008

Few buyers will miss the frenzied days of bidding wars and accelerating prices in this cooling of the BC real estate market. It can bring with it a precious commodity - the time to actually choose your new home.

But one growth area that shows no sign of abating is bargains in the shape of assignments (those condos being 'sold' before a development completes). With only a limited number of pre-sale units available, buyers who procrastinated at the pre-sale launch now rely on assignment sales in their development of choice.

According to, the independent web site that lists assignments throughout Metro Vancouver, units are often assigned just a few months prior to completion by sellers who bought a number of years ago but need to sell due to a change in their circumstances.

For the canny purchaser, this is the time to jump in as the seller is often willing to negotiate quite substantially rather than complete on the unit and deal with the mortgage. Furthermore, a unit post-completion will be worth more on the market than prior to completion.

The most popular assignments on the web site are without doubt in various downtown cores.

Gastown - its reputation growing as an area combining traditional architecture with contemporary interior aesthetics - represents a shrewd investment choice with low rental vacancies (so it's easy to command a decent rent if you want to have a tenant) and the City of Vancouver has reportedly offered incentives of zero property tax for up to three years within some heritage buildings. One- and two-bedroom assignments are available in the popular Terminus development on Water Street, and in 33 West Pender from $409,500.

BC's fastest-growing city, Surrey, benefits from the SFU campus and a SkyTrain that takes just 35 minutes to Vancouver. The towers of Central City have one- and two-bedroom assignments in Infinity II from $228,800 complete with a state-of-the-art fitness studio, spa, garden terraces and big-screen theatre.

Another revitalized area, New Westminster, has assignments in the restored CopperStone development starting from $219,000, and a three-bedroom townhouse in the waterfront community of Q at Westminster Quay priced at $628,450. Close to shopping, restaurants, and transit, many astute investors are finding bargains in this vibrant area.

Further afield, the Zora development in Langley represents excellent value. Well-located for convenient highways, $224,900 buys you a 925-square-foot one-bedroom unit.

Little wonder that Metro Vancouver's assignment popularity is partly fuelled by non-residents and our own downsizing baby boomers who purchase a condo for themselves - as well as one for their children.

Nicola Way is the Manager of, an independent, Vancouver-based web site which lists Realtors' assignment, pre-sale and resale properties since 2004.