Are you looking to rent a home or buy a house in beautiful Surrey, British Columbia? Get the facts first.

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The process of buying or renting a home can be a tedious and stressful one, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re considering moving to Surrey, British Columbia and can’t decide whether to buy or rent a home in the area, don’t worry. We’re here to help.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to deciding between renting or buying a home in Surrey. We’ll go into everything you need to know, from the cost of living in the area to mortgage rates to reviews of some houses currently on the market in Surrey. First, let’s takes look at the cost of living.

The Cost of Living in Surrey

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With a population of nearly 518,000, the average household in Surrey earns $77,494. The cost of living is 11% higher than the national average and Surrey is considered the 12th most expensive city in Greater Vancouver. It’s also the seventh fastest-growing city as well. 

Transportation is considered to be very affordable in Surrey, while healthcare is at the national average in terms of affordability. However, food and housing are significantly more expensive than surrounding areas in British Columbia, which is a common occurrence in this area. 

Mortgage rates in Surrey vary significantly. Here’s a pretty basic example: Since the average house cost in North Delta is $1,100,000, let’s say that you want to finance an owner-occupied house at that price. The down payment for this home would be 20%, or $220,000 and you want to choose a fixed rate. Your mortgage term is 10 years. Mortgage rates in this area for such a scenario will vary from 2.79% to 5.80%

[Sources: https://www.zolo.ca/surrey-real-estate/trends, https://townfolio.co/bc/surrey/demographics, https://www.salaryexpert.com/cost-of-living/canada/british-columbia/surrey]

A Review of Homes Listed on the Market in Surrey

While housing costs in Surrey are quite high, the homes available are quite diverse. Let’s look at an example of a handful of Surrey homes to get a betting idea of what the market looks like.

3 Bedroom / 3 Bathroom Condo

This quaint little condo in Surrey is currently listed for $549,800 (well under the Surrey average home cost) and spans 2,000 square feet. This condo was recently renovated and features a den. The title for this home is strata and the annual property taxes are about $2,052.11. Built-in 1974, this home is three storeys high. As a Guildford Centre Area home, this property is in a quiet area with minimal noise and is within walking distance of the mall, library, rec centre, etc.

7 Bedroom / 7 Bathroom Single Family Home

This lovely and enormous home in Surrey is currently listed for $1,399,888 (close to the average housing cost in Surrey) and spans 4,300 square feet. This home features a two-bedroom detached coach house as well with a rental value of $1,700. The title for this home is freehold and the annual property taxes are about $5,668.81. Built-in 2010, this home sits on about 3,833 square feet of land. As a Panama Ridge home, this property is in an excellent community that is close to parks, schools, shopping centres, and more.

4 Bedroom / 4 Bathroom Single Family Home

This luxury home in Surrey is currently listed for $4,999,999 (significantly higher than the average Surrey housing costs) and spans 2,643 square feet. This home has the potential to be subdivided into six lots, though this should be confirmed with the City of Surrey beforehand. The title for this home is freehold and the annual property taxes are about $6,434.55. Built-in 1976, this home sits on about 52,707.6 square feet of land. As a Heart of Fleetwood home, this property is close to major highways, amenities, and schools

Is Surrey a Good Place to Live?

There are many reasons to live in Surrey, especially if you want to start a family or have a growing one. In this area, you can always find things to do and there are plenty of events that are happening in the city around the year.

For families, there are so many different events and activities for children. In fact, each community in Surrey has a recreation centre and there are many different parks and corn mazes to explore.

Just as well, it is believed that Surrey will become the most populated city in Vancouver, as the population has increased significantly in the last decade. With new bridge installations, interconnected highways, and less traffic, it’s likely that the accessibility of Surrey will make it a hotspot for new residents.

If safety and quality of life are your top priorities, we recommend Surrey due to its excellent bylaws. Construction noise is allowed during certain times outside of Sundays, so you can do work on your home and not have to hear banging during the night or early Sunday morning. Surrey also has a maintenance order that requires homes to be neatly kept up. If you want to build a second suite, you can go for it if you own a single-family home.

In a mass interview conducted by CBC, Surrey residents noted why they loved living in Surrey, BC. The interview provided a lot of insight into the appeal of Surrey and how excellent the quality of living is there.

“It’s amazing to see newer immigrants and long-time Canadian residents choosing to call Surrey home,” says one resident, “ I see the beauty of growing up in this diversity as an enhancement to my life. I don’t have to get on a plane and fly to another country to try new cuisines.”

The diversity of Surrey is certainly one excellent aspect of the city, as 57.76% of the population is made up of visible minority groups. Just as well, another interviewee noted Surrey’s excellent access to amenities for families.

“Surrey continues to have its rough spots, but it has wonderful areas,” says another resident, “It isn’t the same as it was in the ’70s and ’80s. Richmond? Burnaby? Coquitlam? If you think these areas are better, then you are as blind to their downsides as you are to Surrey’s upsides. There’s farms, beaches, parks and activities for young families. I love Vancouver, but the navel-gazing and increasing unawareness of anything beyond its borders is wearing.”

[Source: https://www.surrey.ca/business-economic-development/1418.aspx]

Renting vs Buying in Surrey, BC – Which Is Better?


There are quite a few pros and cons to renting or buying a home in Surrey.

Pros of Renting in Surrey, BC

  • You’ll have much more flexibility and freedom by renting. If you want to move out quickly, you won’t have to jump through hoops to do so, especially if you’re on a monthly lease.
  • You will not be responsible for maintaining the area you’ve rented. That means that if something breaks down and needs repairs, it will be the responsibility of your landlord or building owner.
  • Renting in Surrey may be cheaper than buying. With an average housing rate of $1.1 million, it’s clear that purchasing a house is a much pricier task than simply renting a home. Rental costs can also be high, though, depending on the area you are in.
  • If you have a job in which you must travel frequently or will not be present in the home very often, renting is an ideal choice because you won’t have to worry about constantly maintaining the property you rent.
  • Because housing is so expensive in Surrey, it may be a good idea to rent until you’re able to find the areas of Surrey you like, such as Bridgeview, Fleetwood, Cloverdale, Guildford, etc.

Cons of Renting in Surrey, BC

  • At any time, your landlord can increase your rent. This can make your finances very unstable.
  • You won’t be able to build equity if you are renting a property. While the property will be your home, you won’t be able to use that home as an asset.
  • You won’t be able to enjoy any of the Canadian tax benefits you could receive if you’re only renting a home.
  • You won’t be allowed (in most cases) to make substantial changes to the property. You will need your landlord’s explicit approval to do things like paint or add a feature to the home. In most cases, a landlord will simply not allow this.
  • Many rental homes have explicit “no pets” policies in place, which can be a problem for animal lovers who want to bring their beloved pets into the home with them.
  • Your landlord has the right to evict you at any time. While most landlords want to keep tenants to collect rent money, some may suddenly decide to sell the property or quit being a landlord, which can make things very insecure for you as the tenant.
  • You are bound to the regulations and rules in your lease, which you wouldn’t have to deal with if you purchased a home.

Pros of Buying in Surrey, BC

  • Owning a house will give you a bit more stability and security, as a landlord can’t just kick you out whenever they want to.
  • You will have complete freedom to decorate and renovate the property as you see fit. Just make sure that the changes you make to the exterior of your home align with regulations from the City of Surrey and your local homeowner’s association, if applicable.
  • When you buy a house, you’re making an investment. Once you own that property, you are the owner of that property and can rent it out to generate cash flow on a monthly basis.
  • Tax credits are abundant for homeowners, especially first-time homeowners. If you’re a first-time homeowner, you could be eligible for the first-time home buyers’ tax credit. This excellent tax credit is for about $5,000. Homeowners can also use the Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax rebate on a home that was newly built or renovated for residential use. If you have a disability and decide to purchase a home, there are a couple of other tax benefits you could use on your taxes as well.
  • You’ll be able to live any way you want without having to answer to a landlord. You can have pets, renovate, get new appliances, etc.
  • You’ll have more privacy in a home you own.
  • The job market is excellent in Surrey, so it would make sense to buy a permanent home in the area if you want to pursue a specific career long-term.

Cons of Buying in Surrey, BC

  • You’ll be responsible for a lot more than you would if you were renting.
  • You’re responsible for all maintenance and repairs.
  • Your house is not a liquid asset, so expect the process of selling to be lengthy.
  • Buying a home in Surrey will be substantially more expensive than renting one.
  • Certain areas of Surrey have a reputation for being a little rough around the edges, and it would be unfortunate to purchase a home in such an area.

Conclusion: Should You Rent or Buy a Home in Surrey, BC?

When it comes down to it, either option could be beneficial for you if you plan on moving to Surrey. If you don’t have a lot of capital to invest and want the freedom of being able to move whenever you wish, then renting a home in Surrey would be a very good idea. If you want stability and have buying power, you should consider buying, as it would serve as an excellent investment. With more people moving to Surrey every year, you could build some serious equity with a home.

How was our guide to buying or renting a home in Surrey, British Columbia? Tell us what your experience has been like in the comments below.

Photo source: Waymarking

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    Sukh Brar Real Estate Group
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