High Cost Housing in Vancouver
I was chatting to a co-worker about some of the challenges my generation faces in term of the Vancouver housing market. Specifically how much of household income goes to holding the roof over our heads…not literally as we really like our house and ‘knock on wood’, it seems to be very well made. She lent me an edition of the ‘Vancouver’ magazine in which there is an interesting article about how a respectable level income doesn’t support buying a home in this beautiful city. It’s quite a good article with some valid points although many of them are re-runs.
The fact of the matter is that to participate in home ownership in Vancouver, it is possible by setting a few key objectives:
- Clear your debts
- Maintain a low fixed cost standard of living
- Consider the trade off between a commute & square footage
- Build as much of a down payment as you can
- If you are taking a long term view, jump in as soon as you can*
* This is important because even if the real estate market fluctuates, if you are in it for many years, it will turn around and in the meantime at least some of your monthly housing payment is reducing what you owe and increasing your equity.
I honestly thought I would be living in a single family detached home without a mortgage at this stage in my life. A backyard and a rec room were in the picture too and would they ever come in handy with 2 young kids! I have friends in the Okanagan, on the island and Winnipeg who are mortgage-free. I have to admit that I resent the amount of money going to interest – it is staggering how long it will take to pay off the debt. We have thought of moving but Vancouver is where our career opportunities lie and that pays the mortgage.
I recognize that we are very lucky to be in the position we are compared to many and can understand why educated and hopeful 30 and 40+ year olds are moving away from the big city.