Last fall, a relatively unique occurrence took place: some of the biggest real estate developers in Metro Vancouver all decided to launch presales on some of their biggest ongoing projects and all of those projects happened to be located in the Metrotown neighbourhood of Burnaby.

That group included the 66-storey Citizen by Anthem Properties, the 38-storey Riviera by Ledingham McAllister, the 35-storey Reign (South Tower) by Wesgroup, the 50-storey Solhouse 6035 by Bosa Properties, and the 43-storey Greenhouse by Concord Pacific, all of which totalled to approximately 1,600 units hitting the market around the same time, and all within a 15-minute walk from one another.

Lightning appears to be striking twice, however, as a similar occurrence is now set to take place once again, this time in the City Centre area of Surrey.

In the past few months, as well as in the the coming weeks and months, notable project launches that have or are expected to launch sales include the 34-storey Juno by Streetside Developments, the 34-storey Parksville 96 by Darshan Co., the 39-storey Georgetown Three by Anthem Properties, the 33-storey and 40-storey Piano by Concord Pacific, and the 52-storey Parkway 2 by Bosa Properties.

Outside of concrete high-rises, low-rise projects in Surrey City Centre that are also expected to launch before the midpoint of the year include the six-storey City Corners by Zenterra Developments, the six-storey Stowa by Genaris Properties, and the six-storey Victory (Phase One) by Maskeen, according to Manraj Dosanjh, a realtor with Dexter Realty who specializes in presales in Surrey.

Dosanjh says he believes Streetside Development's successful launch of Juno, on the back of a rare 10% deposit structure, set the tone for the Surrey City Centre presale market.

"There's a lot of projects that I believe can be brought to market now," he says. "But what's happening right now is with Juno's success, all these other developers who were kind of waiting for some sort of positive news in the market, they're going through a preview period to be sure that if they are coming to market, it's going to achieve the initial success that they would hope to have."

Dosanjh says that during preview periods, developers will talk to realtors to get a sense of the market, identify the depth of the potential buyer pool, and then make a decision on the timing of their launch. He says there isn't really a typical or average length when it comes to preview periods and they can range drastically from one project to another.

READ: BC Spring Market Forecast: Amidst Uncertainty, Presale Purchase Incentives Are In Abundance

Some developers, particularly the ones with brand name recognition, do not necessarily have to worry as much about these market factors and can march at the beat of their own drums.

As one example, Bosa Properties launched sales on the first release of Parkway 2 earlier this month and sold out the first release during the first weekend (April 6-7), Bosa Properties tells STOREYS. Seeing that success, Bosa accelerated the launch of the second release, which began selling this past weekend. The second release is also being supported by an "Interest Builder Program," which allows purchasers to earn interest on their final two deposit installments, in what is yet another example of the recent influx of presale purchase incentives in the market.

Dosanjh, who is a second generation Surrey resident himself, says he's noticed a change in terms of the developers who build in Surrey. It used to be that there were plenty of developers who were newer to the industry, but these days, more and more of the biggest developers in Metro Vancouver are investing in Surrey, with the City Centre area being the primary hotspot.

"When you see these brand names coming down [to Surrey], how much more homework do you really need to do when these [developers] are putting hundreds of millions of dollars behind their decisions?," says Dosanjh.

Dosanjh adds that there are often catalysts that push development forward in a given market. For Surrey, and particularly the City Centre area, those catalysts include the Expo Line Skytrain's Surrey-Langley Extension (the contractor for which was named by the Province last week), last year's announcement that Simon Fraser University will be opening a medical school at their Surrey City Centre campus, and Surrey's general growth and maturation as one of the most populous cities in Canada.

Another appeal of Surrey, and the one that is perhaps the most important to buyers these days, is that Surrey has a level of affordability that is hard to find in places like Vancouver and Burnaby.

"Once you start getting into the market and really looking for price-points and what you've been approved for, Surrey and Langley are both becoming these areas where more people are finding themselves than they would've initially thought when they first started their search," Dosanjh says.

A big reason for that, particularly at this moment in time, is the increased competition levels among developers as a result of a market that isn't quite booming.

"I've never seen so much competition amongst pricing, or incentives, or reductions in deposits," adds Dosanjh. "You don't see this during times of heightened activity. We're now in an environment where developers are forced to be competitive."

This article is Part 2 of our BC Spring Market Forecast, presented by Spark.

You can read Part 1, about the recent influx of presale incentives, here.