There is no bubble.
There is increasing demand and decreasing supply.
The media want to sell newspapers, hence one inflammatory theory after another. Shadow this, foreign that, dirty money, etc. Factors, but marginal and not market-moving themselves.
Think about this next statement:
One in ten families in Vancouver will live in a detached home by 2040 as per population growth and housing stock projections.
Now think about the impact of that narrow supply and the steady demand.
As with many previous years, the pace of appreciation of Vancouver real estate remains ‘unsustainable’ and clearly there is a ‘bubble about burst’. So say the same crowd. Sure, and ice cream cones will soon be a nickel again too.
Through 2015 and into 2016, home prices throughout the Vancouver region continue their inexorable rise. Many individuals have sold over the past 12–24 months thinking they were ‘timing the market’ and would buy back in when prices eased. This is always the worst plan. Many have come before these misguided folks, and sadly, many will follow.
Do not sell your home until you have already bought the next one.
This is not a market that can be timed. Trying to time an illiquid market like real estate (compared to the instant liquidity of the stock market) made little sense in 1986, 1996, 2006, and continues make little sense in 2016. If one thinks that common sense is lacking within our housing market, they should ask themselves one thing: if this common sense has been lacking for arguably 100 years, why would it suddenly show up now?
Waiting for common sense to be applied to Vancouver real estate is like waiting for an alien invasion, zombie attack, or a Sharknado. It might happen, but it is extremely unlikely.
And I am not going to place a massive bet with my family home on it.
This is what people who sell their home are doing – they are placing a huge, life-altering bet with their greatest asset, betting that they are right and that after 100 years of drought, tomorrow the rains will come.
Except tomorrow never comes.
It is human nature to cling to our beliefs, it was with great reluctance that we gave up Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, and most of us did so one by one. Not with the obvious logic of realizing that if we were wrong about one of them then we were wrong about the existence of all of them. We hung on to our imaginary beliefs as long as possible, taking comfort in them.
Another element is the effect that rising prices have on any of us in any area: they create a feeling of shame within us. We feel like we missed the bus, but of course it was not our fault; it never is when we make a mistake. And so we make a stack of excuses as to why we thought prices would go down and we would win big, and we cling to them, all the while creating new excuses as to why we should still not buy. Human emotion playing its part once again.
If you are in the Vancouver real estate market and you want to cash out, be prepared to buy smaller or buy elsewhere… and have that next property locked down under contract before you sell.
Next week we dig into some hard numbers on how prices are more than sustainable, they actually have room to continue to rise in a housing sectors.