Are you a first-time homebuyer wondering where to live in Metro Vancouver?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

If you’re a young twentysomething first-time homebuyer looking to get on the property ladder in Metro Vancouver, where should you start looking for a home that you can afford?

I recently came across this article by Michael Ferreira of Urban Analytics which could help to point you in the right direction.

Generation Y has many advantages over others, but when it comes to buying a first home it appears the “good old days” truly did belong to baby boomers.

Today’s twentysomethings are not only having trouble earning meaningful pay cheques to put toward a mortgage, but the Canadian government has made it even tougher by tightening lending rules to keep a leash on the housing market. Combine this with a decade-long rise in house prices across Canada, it’s no surprise Gen Y is feeling down about buying their first home.

While it’s a discouraging time for young people with a dream of owning their first home, it’s not impossible for Gen Y to buy. At Vancouver-based Urban Analytics, we’ve watched the evolving first-time homebuyer market for years and can offer some advice to young people – Metro Vancouver in particular – who are contemplating buying their first home.

Tip #1 – Consider “best buy” locations (not the electronics store)
By “best buy” we mean the five areas in Metro Vancouver with the largest selection of new condos and townhomes. These include: Richmond, Coquitlam, Southeast False Creek, Surrey Central, and neighbourhoods south of the Fraser. In fact, Richmond is now the most competitive new condominium market in the region as developers have become increasingly aggressive in their fight for market share. Six major new condo projects totaling more than 1,000 units have launched in Richmond in the past two months alone. Another five condo projects are potentially launching in the next few months. Now may be the time to invest in Richmond.

Tip #2 – Think like Donald Trump: Negotiate

When it comes to buying a new condo unit from a plan, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or for an upgrade feature to be included. Your real estate agent can also do this for you – just let them know what you want. Some developers are more willing to negotiate than others, depending on their sales targets or those of their lender, so it never hurts to make a pitch.

More and more developers are offering incentives these days. Some include: Bohème on East Hastings where buyers of units more than $330,000 receive either a new Fiat car or $15,000 in cash; at The Rolston in downtown Vancouver, renters who buy in the building receive $1,000 off their mortgage payments for three years, or $500 off for six years; at the Wall Centre Central Park in Burnaby, buyers receive a 3.2-per-cent credit off purchase price. These incentives result in significant savings.

Tip #3 – Tis’ the Season? Or is it?
Spring typically brings with it a sense of renewal, which seems to get more people thinking of buying a new home, is a traditionally strong home-buying season. That means more competition for properties, and less incentive from sellers to offer discounts. Unless your timing is tight, consider buying during traditionally slower times of the year such as mid-summer when there are fewer buyers, and sellers and developers may be more willing to negotiate.

Tip #4 – Become a Landlord

Buying a house doesn’t have to mean carrying the entire mortgage on your own. A lot of first-time homebuyers purchase properties with two or more bedrooms or units, and rent out the extras to roommates or tenants. Becoming a landlord isn’t for everyone, but if you’re up for a little extra work, and some company, it could make the difference between changing your status from renter to buyer.

Recent real estate sales in Kitsilano, Coquitlam and Richmond

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Vancouver Sun November 12th, 2011

403 – 2475 York Ave., Vancouver

Type: 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment
Size: 1,087 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $768,000
Listed for: $799,900
Sold for: $950,000
Sold on: Sept. 20
Days on market: 13
Listing agent: Spice Lucks at RE/MAX Real Estate Services
Buyers agent: Jane Donnelly at Macdonald Realty Kerrisdale

The big sell: The latest report from the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board depicts a more balanced housing market compared to October 2010: the number of properties listed has increased, but sales have declined. However, the benchmark price for the past 12 months has risen by 7.5 per cent on the back of sales such as this Kitsilano condo, which fetched $150,000 over the asking price. The reasons behind this particular price hike? A picture-perfect Kitsilano vantage point with an exposure that showcases ocean, city and mountain views from a top-floor, corner unit that has two private patios, including one that is 700 square feet. The interior has generously proportioned rooms — making it ideal for “up-sizers” or “downsizers” — as well as hardwood floors, a natural gas fireplace and in-suite laundry. The home comes with two parking spots, a storage locker and a prime location close to West Fourth Avenue and the beach.

732 Sydney Ave., Coquitlam

Type: 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, detached
Size: 3,796 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $726,000
Listed for: $1.438 million
Sold for: $1.435 million
Sold on: Sept. 15
Days on market: 32
Listing agent: Marla Murati at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty
Buyers agent: Hedy Ting at RE/MAX City Realty

The big sell: This house in the Coquitlam neighbourhood of the Vancouver Golf Course was built in 1960 on a 10,000-square-foot lot. However, a complete redesign of the property was undertaken this year: the home was taken back to the studs and foundation, rebuilt and extended. This capitalized on the solid bones of the structure, but enabled modern high-end finishing to be carried out to current building codes. In this case, that saw a new roof, insulation, drywall, plumbing, heating, electrical and air conditioning installed. The interior has clean lines and contemporary touches with hardwood flooring throughout, sliding glass doors that open to a covered patio, and a kitchen with a grand island, solid wood cabinets, CaesarStone countertops and commercial grade stainless steel Thermador appliances. The bathrooms has floor-to-ceiling Italian marble and glass tiles. The garden is well-manicured, and there is an attached double garage.

9233 Ferndale Rd., Richmond

Type: 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment

Size: 1,046 sq. ft.

B.C. Assessment, 2011: $445,000

Listed for: $450,000

Sold for: $450,000

Sold on: Sept. 15

Days on market: 1

Listing agent: Harris First at Macdonald Realty Westmar

Buyers agent: Eric Kong at Royal Pacific Realty Corp.

The big sell: According to listing agent Harris First, this three-bedroom condo in Richmond’s Red 2 development sold within hours, with the buyer making an offer sight unseen. To ensure the best price for their home, the sellers had been diligent in preparing the property: The carpets had been shampooed, the bathroom vents and some of the kitchen appliances had been replaced. The interior had also been repainted and the sellers had vacated the property, thereby presenting a home in move-in condition with immediate possession. This penthouse unit has North Shore Mountain views, a south-facing master bedroom, cathedral ceilings in the living room and two parking stalls. Adding to the appeal is the fact that Red 2 allows rentals. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, shopping malls, restaurants and transit are within walking distance.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Recent real estate sales in Surrey, Richmond and Vancouver

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Vancouver Sun October 29th, 2011

3337 164A St., Surrey

Type: 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom detached
Size: 5,052 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $1.289 million
Listed for: $1.549 million
Sold for: $1.455 million
Sold on: Aug. 21
Days on market: 32
Listing agent: Monica Lee and Tracey Muter at Royal LePage — Coronation Park
Buyer’s agent: Summer Lin at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty

The big sell: One of the finest features of this custom-designed Morgan Creek house is the craftsmanship that gives the home a natural elegance. Wainscotting and heavy mouldings in each of the principal rooms combine with rich, dark-stained walnut hardwood and natural slate stone flooring, creating a seamless flow throughout the home. There are floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinets surrounding the fireplace in the family room, an arched doorway that leads to the living room, and a bespoke kitchen that showcases antique finished cabinetry, an entertainment-sized island and a separate butler’s pantry with plenty of storage. The basement has two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a 21-by-26-foot recreation room that has space for a billiards table and a wet bar. There are plenty of entertaining options outside of the dwelling as well, with a large covered patio containing a seating area and gas fireplace, and an in-ground swimming pool and hot tub.

3813 McKay Place, Richmond

Type: 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom detached
Size: 2,916 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $778,000
Listed for: $928,000
Sold for: $912,000
Sold on: Sept. 12
Days on market: 28
Listing agent: Beth Tioseco at Coldwell Banker Premier Realty
Buyer’s agent: Amal Chebaya at Macdonald Realty

The big sell: According to listing agent Beth Tioseco, the buyers were looking in the Oaks subdivision of Richmond because of its larger homes and proximity to Vancouver. This home in a private, quiet cul-de-sac met their criteria. With almost 3,000 square feet of living space, it is ideal for a large or growing family with a bedroom and three-piece bathroom on the main floor, which could accommodate older occupants. The house was built in 1990 and is brightly accented with skylights and a contemporary décor. The kitchen has ample counter space and is connected to an eating area and a recently-renovated family room. The rest of the bedrooms are upstairs, including a 19-by-15-foot master bedroom with a walk-in closet and an ensuite bathroom with a Jacuzzi. The front and back yards have manicured lawns and flower beds.

3323 Windsor St., Vancouver

Type: 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom townhouse
Size: 1,151 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $N/A
Listed for: $683,900
Sold for: $700,000
Sold on: Aug. 27
Days on market: 67
Listing agent: Mario Felicella at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty
Buyer’s agent: Liana Yap at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty

The big sell: The Nine is a new townhouse development that has been built opposite Charles Dickens elementary school and Sunnyside Park in Vancouver’s Cedar Cottage neighbourhood. The three-level homes have private entryways with marble flooring and vaulted ceilings, gourmet kitchens with stainless-steel appliances (including gas cooktops), European white cabinets and quartz stone countertops. The living and dining rooms have an open-concept design that is enhanced by dark oak hardwood floors, limestone-framed fireplaces, recessed lighting, and built-in wiring for surround sound. The second level features two bedrooms with closet areas, while the master bedroom suite occupies the top floor. The latter has a walk-in closet with organizers, an ensuite bathroom, skylights, and a deck. All three bathrooms have underfloor heating, and all homes have attached garages.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Real Estate Blogs