CTV News has a recent article on their site quoting “no bubble burst”, with Central 1 credit union predicting that low mortgage rates through 2017 will keep sales sizzling, and prices rising.

There is no doubt prices are the highest they have ever been in our fair city, and especially the North Shore & the West Side of Vancouver. Folks that already live here are still loving it here and want to stay making supply very slim. And household income hasn’t kept pace with the increase in median price in the Lower Mainland, and BC specifically stands out as the province that is the most costly to live in – taking the ratio of income to house prices.

Interest Rates today are still incredibly great (2.54% for a five year term) fuelling the fire of an already what some would call, overheated market. But how do you define ‘overheated’? People have always thought that Vancouver has been expensive. The North shore has particularly been an expensive place to live–and the reason is the same–MANY people still love it here, and want more than anything, to live here.

When we first began buying real estate 25 years ago, an average house in North Vancouver was just over $100,000, and when that number became $200,000, everyone was up in arms. Breaking major price points over the last 25 years has always invoked the same response from consumers–except now we’re talking “millions” of dollars. The price increase we have seen in the past year is approximately 20-25%. We’ve also seen similar increases in the period mid 2005 to mid 2006, when median prices jumped approximately 30%, and then again in early 2009 to early 2010, when they jumped again approximately 20%. YIKES!

There is no doubt it is tough out there. Buyers are finding it a real challenge to break into the market so here are some helpful thoughts and tips on how to manage investing in and staying in one of the most desirable places to live in the world:

  1. Start somewhere & just get into the market – the important thing is to stop paying rent.  Consider purchasing an older apartment with a friend, or get a room mate.  There are 235  apartments for sale in North Vancouver today (that’s 50.6% of our market) , and 109 of those are under $400,000.  A $200,000 mortgage costs about $1000 per month today.  Typical strata fees are about $300 per month – & add $100 – $175 a month for property taxes.   It’s possible that’s less than you will pay for rent here.  You’ve got to start somewhere.
  2. Not ready to buy just yet? Chat with a financial planner & a local mortgage broker and start your plan.  With guided advice and your goal setting program, you’ll be further ahead when the time comes.
  3. Sit down with and ask questions of a seasoned, honest Real Estate Advisor – who should be part of your financial team, for now & into the future. Learn about today’s real market conditions from someone who is working 24/7 in the market – DON’T rely on traditional or social media to form your opinions & make your decisions – trust the experts!
  4. Set goals to save money & tuck it away for your real estate portfolio…over history, it has been one of the best investments you will ever make.
  5. Living in Vancouver is the reality of living within the Pacific Rim, but check out average composite (all property types) home prices in:

San Francisco      $1,109,900        up 14.7% over year

Singapore            $1,155,020.       up  18% last 3 months 

Hong Kong           $2,047,850        for on average, 753 square feet

Vancouver            $636,000

source: Zillow

So is North Vancouver real estate too hot? Tell us what YOU think in the comments.