“Hi, I’m Kristin. I’m a 30-something living in Vancouver with my husband and our new son. At the moment, we are renting a 2BR/2BA condo that (barely) meets our needs, but the thrill of paying someone else’s mortgage is starting to wear thin and we are getting ready to take the plunge into home ownership. The trouble is, we live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and we aren’t sure that being house poor is exactly a good alternative to renting. Vancouver is an amazing city with tonnes to offer, but if our whole paycheque is being sunk into the roof over our heads, and there is nothing left to enjoy what this city has to offer, then really- is there any point…?
So, we’re opening our home buying search a little wider than might be typical- our “circle of interest” includes Metro Vancouver, plus a few spots on Vancouver Island like Victoria and Nanaimo. We know we won’t be able to check all our boxes- so we’re going to explore and see if we can find somewhere that makes both our hearts, and our wallets, happy. Our ideal home, one that ticks ALL the boxes, would be something like this: 3+BR, 2+BA, single family detached, a yard that has some character, a house that has room for us to add value, in a community with young families and associated amenities, nearby our current jobs which we both love, and all for less than half a mil. Anybody have a magic lamp I can rub?
So, if you live in this city, or one like it, and you didn’t buy before that nasty line on the average home price graph took a massive turn upward, then you likely know what I’m talking about. Feel free to follow along and see how things go for us, and where we end up…”
Kristin, 33, loves renting in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, where she and her husband work. Since the couple’s first child came along six months ago, however, she’s decided it’s time to find a bigger home.
Lifestyle is important. Her husband is a landscape architect and they both like gardening, so a sizable yard is a must. They’re willing to relocate to a smaller city – Victoria or Nanaimo – in order to find the space they want. For Kristin, a mechanical engineer, it might mean finding another job for less pay, but it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make.
With a $500,000 budget, however, a large property might be hard to find in an expensive city like Vancouver. So Kristin is looking for a fixer-upper, something affordable that she can add value to.
Household income: $127,000
Financing: $50,000 down payment, $450,000 mortgage
Goal: Detached home, minimum three bedrooms, two bathrooms. Looking for a fixer-upper with a large yard.
Challenge: Large Vancouver properties may be beyond her budget.
- from ‘In Vancouver, is a $500,000 fixer-upper out of reach?’, Dianne Nice, G&M, 25 Apr 2012
[hat-tips to both jesse and Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs for linking this article in our comments section]
These people aren’t going to find a SFH in Vancouver, but not for lack of ability, rather it’s because they simply don’t want it enough.
‘Down payment $50K; Household income $127K; Budget $500K’? Why so conservative? Don’t they know they first have to borrow to get a higher DP, then fudge their income, then borrow $900K? That’s the way it’s done.
“Status: Renter”. Goodness! to imagine bearing that…
“It is better to be lowly born, And range with humble livers in content, Than to be perked up in a glistering grief, And wear a golden sorrow.” – W.Shakespeare
In our opinion these folks could be buying in at the very, very worse time ever, just as the ball pauses at the top of its trajectory and starts making its descent.