Middle-class buyers finding it harder to get into the Vancouver housing market

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Still one of the nation’s most expensive residential real estate markets, Vancouver continues to push middle-class families and hopeful home owners out despite a conspicuous slowdown in sales volume.

While Vancouver’s job creation and economic fundamentals remain strong, vacant or momentarily occupied homes have increased by more than two-fold in the 15 years since 2001, up to 66,719.

Many of these unoccupied properties cost a million dollars or more. Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, noted that this sharp growth in the number of empty homes reflects the middle-class consumer base’s particular difficulties in getting into the market.

“[Many homes] have become just luxury items like Ferraris,” Yan wrote in his recent analysis, as quoted by Bloomberg. “They’re not affordable for most local incomes.”

In particular, the median price of a single-family home in Vancouver’s west side is now at $4.9 million, roughly 65 times the city’s average household income.

Analysts have pinned much of the blame on wealthy foreign nationals, many of which purchase homes that they otherwise leave empty, and are acquired only for flipping purposes.

Demand for Vancouver’s homes is showing no signs of stopping at the moment. Earlier this year, the Goodman Report on the city’s apartment sector highlighted the area’s lack of supply amid the ever-growing clamor for rental housing in the city.

“It’s anticipated that the regional population will increase by an average of 35,000 per year until 2040,” authors David and Mark Goodman wrote in January.

Outsized demand has inflated Vancouver’s average price per suite to $377,000 in 2016, up by 52 per cent compared to the year before that. The report authors dismissed the possibility of this trend ending any time soon.

“The Goodman Report expects local landlords to remain insulated from any apparent decline in tenant demand or softening of rents,” the duo stated.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

Comments are closed.