More immigrants settling outside the city: StatsCan

For the first time ever, more immigrants to Vancouver are settling in the suburbs than the downtown core, Statistics Canada revealed yesterday.



Metro Vancouver is home to more than 800,000 foreign-born people, making up nearly 40 per cent of the population, according to the 2006 Census: Immigration, Citizenship, Language, Mobility And Immigration study.


But only 28.7 per cent of newcomers live in the city, while 46 per cent chose to make their home in Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond.

Dan Hiebert is a geography professor at the University of British Columbia and co-director of Metropolis, a forum for bridging research, policy and practice on migration and diversity.

He said the downtown core has gone from being the most affordable place for immigrants to live to an unrealistic ideal because of escalating land values.

"Immigrants that come to North America are often the most enthusiastic about the suburban dream," he said.

"And where are those … single detached houses where you have an ample yard and an ample-sized house? Mainly in the suburbs."

Doris Gee, a real estate agent with Re/Max Central Realty in Burnaby, said it’s also become much easier for immigrants to take out mortgages.

"Banks have a lot more options for lending," she said. "It’s 100 per cent easier for them to borrow money."

Coupled with the growth of multilingual services, she said it’s easier than ever for new Canadians to buy property.

Surrey surge

  • Surrey had the fastest-growing foreign-born population in Metro Vancouver, increasing by 30.9 per cent between 2001 and 2006.