It’s one of the last waterfront developments on Vancouver’s False Creek, and people camped out for the better part of a week to own their share of it.

With the average price of a detached home in the City of Vancouver now more than $1.9 million, buyers are turning to condo developments like Voda at The Creek as a way to own a piece of the city’s red-hot real estate market.

Eric Tang, one of the buyers lined up outside the development on Saturday, is looking to downsize from his current home, but he’s also hoping for a solid investment.

“I hope so,” he said, when asked if he hoped his condo would increase in value. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.”

Buyers from outside the City of Vancouver were also represented in the line in the form of Chris Malkin, who runs the website

“We do have overseas and out of town buyers,” he said. “I have people from Victoria, Seattle, and Mainland China.”

Between real estate, construction, and all the finance and service spin-off industries, it’s likely that housing is B.C.’s largest industry, possibly as much as 25 per cent of the provincial economy, estimates Andrey Pavlov, professor of finance at Simon Fraser University.

“It’s easy to measure the direct construction and development industries, but if you want to put everyone who sort of depends on real estate -- all the interior designers and the home depots and all that kind of stuff -- I would guess it adds up,” Pavlov said.

Some, like Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, have argued that the provincial government should implement a “speculation tax” to try to slow the growth of real estate prices in the region.

The province has so far rejected calls to take action, arguing that intervening to reduce foreign investment in Metro Vancouver real estate would wipe out $1 billion in sales and 3,800 construction jobs.

Pavlov said a downturn could potentially be even worse than the provincial government estimates.

“It’s tricky to get a two or three or four percent decrease,” he said. “The way these things work is they either continue to go up or they crash. And the reason that happens is we have so many investors in our market, the moment they start losing money they’re going to dump.”

Does that mean Vancouver’s real estate market is too big to fail?

“On the contrary, I think that’s the definition of a bubble,” Pavlov said. “Where people don’t buy something because of what it’s worth. They buy it because they think it’s going to be worth more in the future.”

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Tom Popyk