The great ‘buy vs. rent’ debate.

There’s an article today on about the affordability gap between buying and renting in Canada.

“A report on real estate trends indicates that steadily rising home prices and the recent upward drift in mortgage rates is tilting the economics of housing back in favour of renting over home ownership.”

The report released by the Scotiabank Group links the price difference between buying and renting to the slowing housing market across Canada.

“Among major urban areas, the buy-over-rent premium in 2005 ranged from just $31 per month in Winnipeg to $1,220 in Vancouver. Nevertheless, in most centres, the affordability gap is widening.”

Relative price trends in recent years have consistently favoured renters over homeowners, the report said. Between 2000 and 2005, renters’ shelter costs increased at an average annual rate of 1.3 per cent. Homeowners’ costs, on the other hand, rose an average 2.7 per cent yearly. Rising home prices have been a major inflationary factor, but homeowners have also faced relatively larger increases in insurance premiums and maintenance costs.”

Kitsilano vs. France

I thought this was a rather amazing comparison between two houses priced roughly the same. This was posted by ‘exvancouverite’ over at the Vancouver Housing Blog, and it gives an interesting comparison between house values in central vancouver compared to other parts of the world (France in this case).

Here’s the kits house: $1,280,000

and here’s the french house: 8,999 Euro ($1,279,891 CAD)

The french house is quite old though, it was built in the 18th century.

What is the right price to pay for a condo?

With the current real-estate market here most people seem to agree that property is getting too expensive in Vancouver, particularly for first-time buyers. Opinions differ on what that means for the future, most people who earn their living through real estate seem to be of the opinion that prices will stay the same for a while (plateau), increase very moderately for the next few years (about the same as inflation) or dip slightly. Others take a more negative view, pointing to Vancouvers history of manic depressive real-estate price swings, including a one year 40% drop in house prices in the early eighties.

With the current build-up of houses and condos for sale and months of dropping sales its starting to look like we’ve hit the market peak – so how many are waiting on the sidelines to buy? If prices start to drop who will jump in to make sure they don’t drop too much?

If you’re looking to buy in Vancouver, but are currently ‘priced out’ or have found better places to invest your hard-earned money, what would convince you to buy in Vancouver? What do you feel is a reasonable price to pay for a house or condo in Vancouver? What about specific areas: the downtown core, kerrisdale, grandview, collingwood, etc.

Apartment Therapy

Whether you own or rent in Vancouver, if you’re living near the center of the city chances are you live in a small space. Apartment Therapy is a site that focuses on tips to make your space more liveable, from color to decor, layout and renovations. If you’re looking for decorating tips or just some mindless consumerism to chase away the autumn blahs you might find something interesting on their site.

10 condo price reductions in Vancouver

Looking for a condo in Vancouver but waiting for prices to drop? Well here’s some real estate price reductions for you in central Vancouver.. Is this the beginning of a slide in home values or a small dip before prices rocket back up again? I’ll leave that for you to decide. Price drops here range from $10,000 to $40,000. All of these listings have been on the market for more than 90 days, and all links lead to the property listing on

6460 MAIN ST – Original price: $395,000 | Asking: $369,000
“Bonus of $1,000 for accepted offer by August 15”

888 PACIFIC ST – Original price: $449,000 |
Asking: $419,900
“Wake up & enjoy building amenities..”

1099 E BROADWAY – Original price: $349,900 |
Asking: $325,000
“Faces Broadway but quiet inside”

336 E 1ST – Original price: $339,00 |
Asking: $319,000
“Easy parking rental in building.”

950 CAMBIE ST – Original price: $488,000 |
Asking: $478,800
“close to all amenities & other new buildings”

550 BEATTY ST – Original price: $429,000 |
Asking: $415,000
“Upgraded kitchen cabinets for those who don’t want the conventional”

– Original price: $429,000 |
Asking: $405,000
“Market rent $1650/mo.”

3788 W 10TH AV – Original price: $458,000 | Asking: $438,000
“Quick access to UBC and downtown.”

189 NATIONAL AV – Original price: $480,000 | Asking: $440,000
Bright open kitchen with granite countertops

6026 TISDALL ST – Original price: $279,000 | Asking: $265,000
“35% down payment required. Adult building.”

There are more listings, but I grow weary of typing. If there is interest I’ll make this an ongoing feature.