Are You Sitting On A Real Estate Goldmine In Vancouver?

 By: Kerri Demski
Will Vancouver's proverbial bubble finally burst? I think not. Real estate on Vancouver's Westside reached record level benchmark pricing, shooting up over 290K in March, 2011. Beautiful tree lined streets in established neighbourhoods, who wouldn't want to live here but the real question is, who can afford it? Many Canadians certainly can't manage to purchase a home on the Westside but that's not necessarily the target market. Investment class immigrants looking to move here in the next 2-3 years need an investment in Canada of at least 800K and they also have to prove a net worth of 1.6 million dollars. Specifically Mainland China buyers are purchasing homes and investment properties in huge numbers driving price hikes particularity on the Vancouver's Westside and Richmond.

How will this influence the rest of the real estate market on the Lower Mainland? It seems to be creating a domino effect because Westsiders sell their home and purchase elsewhere in Metro Vancouver. With comparatively reasonable house prices, the next big area is believed to be Vancouver's North Shore where supply and demand is already at a steady pace. Buyers from Mainland China are looking for areas with good schools in safe neighbourhoods. North and West Vancouver have plenty of those and for now, the prices are more reasonable than Vancouver West.• 

Compared to the rest of the world Vancouver is rated the 75th most expensive city in the world so there's plenty of wiggle room left. The top ten most expensive real estate markets are Monte Carlo, Moscow, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Singapore, Rome and Mumbai.

In addition to the successful 2010 Winter Olympic Games, let's not forget that Vancouver was voted to be The World's Most Liveable City for the 5th consecutive year. Not only is Vancouver an outdoor enthusiast's playground but comparatively, we have great healthcare and economic stability coupled with interesting culture, arts and entertainment. Residents appreciate and care for the environment ensuring an everlasting West Coast lifestyle for our children's children. International appeal will continue to drive our ever-growing global real estate market.

To help Canadians better afford homeownership the City of Vancouver has made a few reconsiderations. The City now permits RS1 and RS5 zones areas to have a secondary suite and a coach house if your property meets certain criteria while The City of Richmond and The City of North Vancouver permit a secondary suite in every home in single family neighbourhoods. In some zones they also allow a coach house but North Vancouver and Richmond property owners cannot have both on a principle residence.

Co-ownership is also gaining in popularity as lenders like VanCity offer new products like their Mixer Mortgage. According to the City of Vancouver a single family lot can now have a total of three units in some areas of the city. It is important to point out that the units cannot be sold separately (or strata-titled) but family and friends can decide to jointly purchase a property together, live in each of the units, and legally co-own it.
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