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If you’re planning to buy a home in Vancouver any time soon, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in the country, with prices reaching over the $1 million mark.
Before you buy a home in Vancouver, it would be helpful to do a little homework on where prices are currently at and take some time to save for a big down payment while getting your finances in order.
And if Vancouver is a little too pricey for you, there are other nearby housing markets that offer prices that are much lower in comparison.
What Factors Go Into Setting Listing Prices?
Sellers would love to charge whatever they want for their homes. But that tactic is usually a futile one. Without doing some due diligence, sellers can risk a failed attempt at selling their homes. If they price way too high, they risk scaring off qualified buyers who would otherwise be interested in — and able to afford — their homes.
In order to come up with a sound listing price, sellers enlist the help of real estate professionals who do a little investigative work on what similar homes recently sold for. While it may be somewhat helpful to look at current listings to get an idea of how much a home could be sold for, that doesn’t really tell the whole story.
Instead, the actual prices that homes ended up selling for will give a much better picture of how much a home can and should be listed for.
Here is how real estate agents come up with listing prices for homes on the market:
A Look At Historical Sales
The best way to gauge how much a home should be listed at is to look at historical sales in the area. More specifically, a list of “comps” — or comparables — will be pulled. These properties will detail the exact final sale price of homes to come up with a listing price. The homes should meet the following criteria:
- Similar to the subject property – Ideally, the properties listed should have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, be roughly the same size, be of the same type (such as a bungalow or two-story), and sit on a relatively similar lot.
- Sold in the recent past – Properties included in the list of comps should have sold no further back than 3 to 6 months earlier.
- Located in the same area – The closer the properties are to the subject property, the better.
Adjustments Are Made
Once the initial investigative work is done on what similar homes in the area recently sold for, any necessary adjustments will be done to the listing price until a final decision is made. Adjustments involve adding to and subtracting from the sale price of the properties included in the list of comps.
Several factors and features are involved in the process of adjustments, including the following:
- Type of dwelling
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Square footage
- Age and condition of the home
- Finishes and features
- Size of the lot
- Location in the neighbourhood
Getting ready to buy? You’ll need these documents in order to secure a mortgage.
Average Home Prices In Vancouver
The average price for a home in Vancouver is currently $1,047,400. That’s a hefty price and is among the most expensive centres in the entire country. Prices have increased 5.4% in Vancouver over the past year. At the same time last year, home prices were averaging $993,300.
Vancouver’s home prices are well over the province-wide average of $843,819. BC’s average home price is quite high mainly because of the exorbitant home prices that the city of Vancouver is seeing.
Comparing Average House Prices Throughout BC
|Home Prices 2020||Home Prices 2019||Year-Over-Year % Change|
|South Peace River||$248,225||$245,235||1.2%|
Why Are Home Prices So High In Vancouver?
Location plays a key role in why real estate prices in Vancouver are so high. Considering the fact that Vancouver abuts the water’s edge on the west coast, there’s little place to expand other than eastward. And a city on the waterfront — on the Pacific Ocean, no less — certainly contributes to the rarity of the land in Vancouver and therefore its appeal to homebuyers.
Vancouver’s proximity to the Rockies and its pleasant climate compared to other parts of Canada also make this city an attractive place to call home. There is also plenty of opportunity for work in Vancouver, and along with employment opportunities comes a higher demand for housing, which can drive prices up. Further, Vancouver’s cosmopolitan culture also contributes to its appeal among the masses.
Home prices are also being driven up by other factors, including the high rate of foreign real estate investment. Plus, the city is home to a lot of fixing and flipping for a profit, which can fuel home prices higher at a faster rate.
All in all, there are plenty of reasons why Vancouver’s home prices are so high, and anyone who wants to benefit from the rich culture, employment opportunities, and beautiful natural landscape will have to pay a pretty penny for it.
How Much Should You Spend On A Home In Vancouver?
Your income and assets not only need to be enough to cover all your current debt obligations, but should also be adequate to cover an additional bill in the form of a mortgage payment. Plus, you’ll also need extra money left over to pay for all the other costs that come with homeownership besides the mortgage.
The question is, how do you determine how much you can comfortably spend on a home purchase in Vancouver?
Make A List Of All Your Current Expenses And Debts
One of the first things you should do is list out all your current expenses, which can include any of the following:
- Car loans
- Car insurance
- Student loans
- Personal loans
- Credit card debt
- Life insurance
- Miscellaneous expenses
Determine Your Gross Debt Service (GDS)
Your GDS measures all the monthly debt you are responsible for paying relative to what you earn. Ideally, your GDS should be less than 30% to 35%. Any higher than that can put you at risk for a denied mortgage application.
Determine Your Total Debt Service (TDS)
Your TDS measures all your debt, including your housing debt, relative to your income. Your TDS should be less than 42%. Again, a TDS higher than this figure can increase your chances of being denied a mortgage.
Both of these ratios will provide your lender with a clear picture of your ability to handle mortgage payments in addition to all your other debts compared to your income. These figures will also help your lender determine the interest rate you may be offered if you are approved for a home loan, as well as the maximum loan amount you may qualify for.
Calculate The Costs Of Homeownership
There are other costs associated with owning a home in addition to your mortgage payments, including the following:
- Home insurance
- Property taxes
- Maintenance and repairs
- Condo fee (if applicable)
Be sure to factor these extra costs into the equation before buying a home.
Remember to consider the closing costs attached with buying your desired home.
Buying a home is a significant financial endeavour, especially when you’re spending the kind of money that the housing market in Vancouver commands. Be sure to do your homework, ensure your financial profile is strong, and team up with an experienced mortgage specialist and real estate agent to increase your chances of a successful real estate transaction.
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