Surrey City Junk Removal
Hillsdon looks at his options and likes what he sees in Surrey
Six months ago, my boyfriend and I started talking about living options once his lease in Vancouver was up. We knew that we wanted to move in together, but he wasn't prepared to have me spend my limited student loan money on rent – nor was I for that matter! After a long process of elimination, and a budget of $900 a month, we were able to secure a 1 bedroom, 577 square foot unit at Concord's Park Place adjacent to King George SkyTrain Station. Here's what we discovered during our move to Downtown Surrey:
He is currently sharing a two bedroom apartment near Fairview with a roommate, paying roughly $750. Without any financial contributions on my part, our max rental budget was $900. This does not include utilities, hydro, or any other living expenses.
He works on the Broadway corridor, while I commute to SFU Burnaby. Walking distance to SkyTrain was the highest priority for us both. We eliminated basement suites early on because of personal preference. The remaining rental stock consists either of purpose-built apartments from the post-war era, or privately owned condos.
Not surprisingly, Vancouver was out of the picture quite quickly. Purpose-built rentals were simply beyond our budget. North Vancouver was pushing the limit of our budget, but it was the inconsistency of the SeaBus schedule that eliminated it from our choices. Most of Richmond's rentals are a bit of a distance from Canada Line and the lack of ethnic diversity was a turnoff for us.
The lack of rapid transit accessible rentals was quite frustrating actually. Rentals seemed to be everywhere but near a SkyTrain. This was especially confusing with the Millennium Line, which traverses through industrial lands ripe for re-development. It's just bizarre.
The three clusters of rental options near SkyTrain were at Metrotown, New Westminster, and Surrey. Metrotown has a large swathe of old purpose-built rental south of the SkyTrain line with prices for 1 bedrooms around 0 to 0. New West's rentals were often several blocks away from the two stations, again in older purpose-build apartments at the same price point. Their new towers downtown were not within our budget.
Surrey has a number of options. All of these units are in newly built towers or wood-frame condos, often next to or just a few blocks from either Gateway, Surrey Central, or King George SkyTrain stations.
So why did we end up choosing Surrey over Metrotown or New West? The main tradeoff for us was between a longer commute versus a new unit. Housing options north of the Fraser were old, questionably maintained relics. Thin walls and windows would make for increased energy bills. Build quality and materials could have a negative effect on our asthma. None of these buildings included amenities, nor did they have in-suite laundry.
For the same price, and a 10-20 minute longer SkyTrain ride, we got a nearly brand new building, with a variety of amenities, in-suite laundry, and much brighter units with today's emphasis on large windows and views. On the downside, units today are built much smaller than in the past, meaning we would sacrifice 100-200 square feet. After walking about the new units in Surrey, we felt the space tradeoff was one we were willing to make.
Developments in Surrey
We toured all the major new developments in Downtown Surrey: Quattro, CityPoint and Evo, all near Gateway; D'Cor and Urban Village, both near Surrey Central; and Park Place near King George.
Quattro was a nice development with great long term potential. The developer had built two four-storey buildings, with a third under construction. The buildings included street-front retail, but weren't yet filled. The units were small, but no smaller than all the others. It held out the promise of being quieter than other developments, but felt more like it was too far removed from everything. Quattro is located in the eastside of King George Boulevard, making for a rather long walk to SkyTrain through one of the entire downtown's most sketchy areas. Our metric was whether we would feel safe walking home at night and this didn't meet it at all. Additionally, there were very few units from Quattro available to rent. Eliminated.