Jay Coupar

Housing Is A Human Right

Everyone who works in Vancouver should be able to afford to live here. After all, according to our politicians, our Mayor, and even Justin Trudeau – Housing is a human right.

I hear these people regurgitating the same line over and over again, pandering to their voter base, and I have to chuckle. Housing, of course, is not a human right – never has been, and never will be. Especially in a west coast city as desirable as Vancouver. Housing is a privilege and one that has to be earned.

A Red Herring

I hear these same people complaining about the foreign buyers, money laundering – that must be why prices are so high in Vancouver. Of course, the idea that Chinese people laundering money through the River Rock Casino is a major catalyst for price inflation has been dismissed by industry insiders, economists, and even the Cullen Commission (the task force set up by the NDP government).

Maybe, then, it’s the greedy landlords and developers. It’s the low-interest rates – the Bank of Canada is to blame. It’s the self-serving Realtors and the blind-bidding process driving up prices.

Focus On Yourself

Now, I empathize with people frustrated with the state of BC’s housing market. It’s a tough nut to crack, and no one ever said it was easy. However, ask yourself, what do all these complaints have in common?

They are all outside forces beyond your control. You can’t control interest rates or the bank of Canada. You cant control the basic economic principle of supply and demand. You cant control a global economy where capital flows wherever it wants.

Now, here’s a crazy idea – why not focus on yourself, and what you can control?

Let’s dispense with the silly nonsense peddled by our incompetent politicians and government, and get down to business. John Horgan is not going to help you buy a house. Kennedy Stewart is not going to help you. If you want to get into this market, you’re going to have to put your back into it.

Develop A Plan

First, we need to look at your income situation, and how it can be improved. It may mean going back to school or studying in the trades, it may mean getting a side hustle, or it may be as simple as putting a savings plan in place. Next, were going to talk with a qualified mortgage broker to look at financing options.

Once this has been done, we need to realistically assess your options. The average detached house price in Vancouver is $1,910,200 – again, I must stress, we need to be realistic. The typical household in Vancouver makes around $80,000 per year, which means your looking at a total purchase price of around a half-million dollars (that’s with 20% as the down payment). I can find you a studio unit in Mount Pleasant, or a one-bedroom in Joyce – Collingwood. I can find you a 2 bedroom in New Westminster or in Richmond on the Canada Line – that would be a fantastic way to get into the housing market.

Still Waiting For That Big Market Correction

This is where many people, particularly young millennials and first-time buyers, hit a brick wall. They don’t want to compromise. They grew up in Kitsilano, Fairview, or the West End, and they believe that because their parents were able to crack these markets, so should they. I see this all the time, and it’s extremely frustrating to watch. They continue to wait on the sidelines, hoping (or more likely, praying) that we will have a market correction and they can buy-in. The irony is that when we do eventually get a 5-10% market correction, most of them will get spooked – they won’t be able to pull the trigger in a declining market. They will be permanently sidelined, and likely become lifetime renters.

Don’t fall for this. The BC real estate market is an unstoppable machine, and it will steamroll these people. We will have market corrections from time to time – consider them buying opportunities. Stop listening to the predictions and prognostications, and the doomsday crowd on social media.

Put a plan in place, save for the down payment, hire a qualified Realtor, and get going.