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Small town BC is heating up

By Emma Caplan

It’s no secret that Vancouver and other Lower Mainland residents have been moving away over the years, as the real estate market has heated up. With extremely high prices and low supply, places like the Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island have become home to many former Vancouverites and, as a result, those markets have increased as well. However, as Bethany Lindsay points out in CBC’s Small towns feel the pinch as Vancouver real estate madness spreads, Vancouverites are not alone in this predicament.

Long-term residents from places along the Sea-to-Sky corridor, such as Squamish, are being priced out of their local markets as Vancouverites seeking lower-priced homes flood the area. And, not surprisingly, this phenomenon is causing a ripple effect. Those leaving areas like Squamish may likely be headed to areas such as Powell River and Lillooet. If you are one of the many considering such a move, or if you’re just curious about other markets in BC, these profiles could come in handy.

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Powell River

Powell River is situated northwest of Vancouver, on the north end of the Sunshine Coast. It can only be accessed by ferry. With a population of just over 12,000[1], the City of Powell River is the largest community on the Sunshine Coast (the regional population of the area is about 20,000).

Average Home Prices

According to the BC Real Estate Association, in April 2018, the average selling price of a home in Powell River was $352,724, 16% higher than the year prior. At the time of writing, there were four two-bed, two-bath homes in Powell River listed on One was under $200,000, two were under $400,000, and one came in just under $900,000.

Key Industries[2]

Powell River has a well-diversified economy and strong employment base in primary industries, such as paper manufacturing and limestone quarrying. Chief exports include lumber, seafood, and value-added products like windows and cabinetry.

Recreation Activities and Quality of Life

Powell River offers beautiful seaside views, sandy beaches, fishing, climbing, and plenty of hiking trails, including the 180 km Sunshine Coast Trail. It has great public and post-secondary education, health care, infrastructure, recreation, and culture. The region offers a wide range of arts activities, with many festivals and musical and theatre performances.


Lillooet is located along the Fraser River, about 250 km northeast of Vancouver, and among deep gorges within the Coast Mountains. Its climate is very dry and hot. The District of Lillooet’s population is 2,322 people (as of the 2011 census), or 5,000 if you include the surrounding communities that use Lillooet as their trading centre.[3]

Average Home Prices

At the time of writing, there were three two-bed, two-bath homes in Lillooet listed on They ranged from $189,000 to $369,000. According to Lindsay’s article, you can still find acreages with detached homes in Lillooet for under $350,000.

Key Industries[4]

For a long time, agriculture has been a large industry in Lillooet, including ranching and fruit and vegetable growing. The economy is closely tied to the forest industry, and Lillooet’s strong commercial core services a large region. In addition, Lillooet has been identified as the next logical location for investment in BC’s wine industry.

Recreation Activities and Quality of Life[5]

Lillooet is the outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Throughout the nearby mountains and lakes, you’ll find hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and ice and rock climbing. As well, the valley is home to a golf course and many historical and cultural sites.



[1] Statistics Canada Census Profile, 2016 Census:

[2] Live & Invest:

[3] Community Demographics & Infrastructure:

[4] Invest in Lillooet:

[5] Recreation & Activities:

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