So we’ve all heard about Vancouver’s affordability crisis, but if you really break down the numbers, it’s not so daunting. With CMHC offering mortgages with 5% down, home ownership in Vancouver is actually a realistic option for buyers willing to start small and build up their equity.
Here’s how: buy a condo in New West. Some of the lowest prices for all types of properties can be found in New West, a gem of a suburb with a riverfront boardwalk, a market on the water, antique stores and growing community of cool people and young families who have migrated here because of the vibe and the prices. The neighbourhood of Sapperton, in particular, has been hailed by residents and outsiders as the next Brooklyn for its identity as a bustling, hip, urban area for young people.
In New Westminster, the average, brand new, 1 bedroom condo goes for $275,000 and can include views of the river. Prices at Brewery District, a condo development in Sapperton, for example, are the lowest per square foot for all new communities on rapid transit1 except for Surrey. The only difference is that Brewery District is a 3-minute walk to the Skytrain and in some developments in Surrey, it’s 9 minutes.
Okay, it’s a condo. Get over it. New condos are amazing. At Brewery District, there’s a 10,000 square foot premium fitness facility with squash courts, sports training and party rooms. There will be a rooftop deck and lots of well-lit, open green space around the building. The Skytrain is a few steps away and there’s no need to drive anywhere because the neighborhood already has a vibrant retail community that includes a grocery store, restaurant, bank, drugstore, coffee shops, doctors, dentists and a yoga studio all within a two block radius.
Here’s how the numbers break down on a $280,000, 532 sf condo:2
1. Downpayment- 20%: $57,771.36
2. Mortgage amount: $934.24/month3
3. Property tax estimate is $1100/year4
4. Strata fees: $205/ month
5. Total monthly expense: $1230/month
If you qualify for a 5% downpayment on the same condo, here are the numbers:
1. Downpayment: $14,958.84
2. Mortgage amount: $1300.59/mo5
3. Prop tax: $1100/year
4. Strata fees: $205/month
5. Total monthly expense: $1,597/month
So if you make $29.50/hour – that’s household income so as a combined average hourly wage – and you can save between $15,000 and $57,000 for a downpayment, you can buy a condo at Brewery District in New West and get your foot in the door and have a place of your own. Time to stop complaining and start saving.
1 Urban Analytics
2 Assuming Net GST applies – Purchase Price is $288,856.80
3 $231,085.44 Mortgage, 5 yr @ 2.69%, 30 yr amortization
4 Estimated $1670 per year minus $570 for the home owners grant
5 $274,413.96 + $9,878.90 (default insurance) = total mortgage of $284, 292.86; 5 year @ 2.69%, 25 yr amortization.