Understanding today’s market

When we moved to the Vancouver area 20+ years ago, the price of real estate was higher than we were used to on the prairies. But with diligence we found a house we could afford and settled in to raise our family in this beautiful corner of Canada.

Today the Lower Mainland has changed dramatically. Vancouver has become a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural civic centre.

When we hosted the Olympics in 2010, the eyes of the world were opened to the natural beauty and lifestyle advantages enjoyed by our residents. Fuelled by a surge in immigration from other parts of Canada and abroad, housing prices started to climb.

And there’s no end in sight. But the Olympics are long over. What’s keeping housing prices up, and driving them ever higher?

A seller's market

According to Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Darcy McLeod, we’re currently in a seller’s market. This happens when there’s a relatively low number of houses on the market compared to the number of people who want to buy. That fact in itself drives prices up.

This is great news for people wanting to sell their home. But it’s a challenge if you want to buy, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer without an existing property to sell.

Short supply of land

The Lower Mainland enjoys spectacular natural amenities, with the mountains and ocean at our doorstep. But this also limits the amount of land that’s available to build on, which keeps the value of homes high. 

Unstable economies

With low interest rates, unstable economies and volatile stock markets worldwide, real estate in a stable country is seen as a safe and valuable investment. An example of this perspective is Chinese investors, who have seen substantial monetary turmoil in recent months and may be more interested in Canadian assets.

Low interest rates

For some time interest rates have been at historic lows. This allows buyers to qualify for a higher-priced home, because their mortgage payments will be lower.  

Impossible dream?

Although the cost of housing seems daunting, what you see in the news is not the whole story. Many people are still able to afford a home that suits them, in spite of the #donthave1million Twitter debate. In fact many new homeowners are participating in the recently launched #dontneed1million campaign intended to demonstrate that it’s still possible to own, even in the inflated downtown Vancouver market. 

If you have any questions about entering today’s market just drop me a line at georgegoodall@shaw.ca or call me at 604.765.5607.

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