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Is today the right time to buy Vancouver Real Estate or not?

This is a question that I am asked on nearly a daily basis by clients, friends, family, even my barista asks it.

Lets set aside for another time the question of whether one should ever own a property or not, lets assume we are all on the same page there (owning is preferable to renting). Personally I bought my first property at 21 and have never looked back, never owning less than one (my principal residence) at all times. I will never willingly give up my toehold in the Vancouver market either.

Back to the question in the title;

For this I have had the same answer for as many years as I can recall;

If we are talking about an owner occupied property and you plan on residing in the Lower Mainland for at least the next 7-10 years or longer still, then the right time to buy is today. Today is always the day if you have found the property that works for you on all levels. What the market is doing on that day is of little importance overall.

There are a few key things to consider about buying an owner occupied property. Primarily, every time you move house, especially if you have a growing family, it is disruptive in all manner of ways. With that in mind if you are able to find the right property for you (& your family) that hits high notes on these variable, among others;







Distance from workplace

Suite revenue

…the list goes on.

then… Take Action!

Getting all of these variables nailed down, something that can often take more than a few months, and for some clients over 100 viewings, is often enough for folks to juggle without worrying about timing the market.

The Vancouver market is sometimes referred to as a bit of a roller coaster, however the long steady climbs are rarely followed by as a large of a drop as folks might anticipate. Instead I refer to it as more of a yo-yo on an escalator. The simple #’s are that a detached home in Vancouver has risen from 13K 40 years ago to 1M today. Not in a straight line though. personally I plan on owning for another 40 myself…so we shall see.

Worrying about where we are in the cycle should be relatively low on the list when it comes to writing that offer on the perfect home for you and your family.

Why do I say this? My answer ‘buy today’ might be wrong tomorrow, next year or the year after. However in the long run, (defined as 7-10 years), it is unlikely that you will be in a position where the market has not reached levels above when you entered the market.

One must keep in mind a few keys things;

Very rarely is an accurate short term market prediction made, and even rarer is it made in unison. Instead the few accurate predictions are lost in the noise of contradictory predictions all getting press at the same time.

The MLS #’s are a poor indicator as they reflect deals that were negotiated as long as 4 months prior to the completion date which was itself in the previous month. In other words by the time the MLS data indicates a trend one way or another it has in fact been in motion for as long as 6 months and could be worsening or doing a u-turn.

Talk to front line folks, Realtors, Brokers, Appraisers, etc. for a better handle on up to the minute trends.

Currently there is lots of talk about the increased listings, decreasing sales volume, and how these two things must lead to a price drop. Indeed you may see asking prices lowered, however actual net sales prices remain strong month to month with little slippage. Far more people are simply removing their property from the market than are dropping the price.

At the end of the day it is all about finding a place you can call home for the duration, and though you might have poor timing whether you buy this month, next year or three years from now – at the end of the day 7-10 years from now you will most likely be glad that you are in the market.

Hindsight is significantly simpler than foresight. So go with the big picture, as time fixes pretty well every Real Estate mistake as far as values go and having a stable home in an area that works for you is perhaps the more important short term and long term goal.

Thank you.

Dustan Woodhouse