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This post is an opinion piece recently published in New Homes Magazine.


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

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

My answer has been consistent since day one; Yes, with strings attached.

In the case of an owner occupied property, which one plans to reside for at least the next 7-10 years; Yes, the right time to buy is today.  Once you (& your Realtor) locate the property that works for you on all levels then what the market is doing on that specific day is of little consequence in the long term.  Market values are like a small yo-yo oscillating on a very large escalator slowly and steadily moving upward.

Key considerations when buying an owner occupied property;

  • Location
  • Layout
  • Age
  • Size
  • Condition (can you afford renovation)
  • Room for growth
  • Recreational amenities
  • Schools
  • Distance from workplace
  • (potential) Suite revenue
  • the list goes on…

If you are able to find the right property for yourself (& your family) that hits high notes on the variables above, Take Action!

Getting all of these variables aligned is something that takes dedication from not only yourself but also the team of industry professionals you surround yourself with.  The process can often consume a few months or more, and for some of my past clients result in over 100 viewings.  This is more than enough to juggle without also trying to ‘time the market’ on that perfect home.

The Vancouver market is sometimes referred to as a roller coaster, however the long steady climbs are rarely followed by as a large of a drop as folks tend to live in fear of.  The historic numbers demonstrate that a detached home in Vancouver has risen from 13K 40 years ago to ~1.1M today. Not in a straight line mind you.  However if you never leave the market straight-line appreciation is not a concern.

One must keep in mind a few keys things;

Very rarely is an accurate short term market prediction made.

The MLS #’s are a poor indicator of what is happening today in the market, as ‘today’ refers to sales that were negotiated on average 3 to 4 months prior. Take the MLS data with a grain of salt.  It is part of the picture for sure, but not the exclusive indicator.

Where then to get the most accurate data?

The front lines; Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Appraisers, etc.

If you suspect industry insiders may be biased…well perhaps we are;  This would largely be due to our intimate knowledge of the numbers, and influenced further by positive personal experiences with our own homes and investment properties.  Many of us are also invested for the long haul, i.e. a 20yr timeline for a single property.

I suggest that concerns about short term price fluctuation not be a key factor in your own decision to buy.  In the long run you will win by owning, not by sitting on the sidelines.

Real Estate is a get-rich-slow program.

It is all about finding a place you can call home for the duration and weaving your family into the fabric of a community.  Perhaps the timing will prove poor initially – whether you buy this month, next year or three years from now.  However 7-10 years from the date of purchase you will most likely be glad that you bought into whatever market you did.  It is difficult to find many homeowners who regret buying in 2003, just as in 2003 it was hard to find those with regrets over buying in 1993.

Hindsight is significantly simpler than foresight. Focus on the big picture, know that time fixes pretty well every Real Estate mistake as far as values are concerned, and having a place to call home in a community that works for you is perhaps the more important short term and long term goal.

Thank you.

For regular market updates follow me @DustanWoodhouse