Vancouver Real Estate: Why It’s Still a Good Bet

It is a problem everywhere – today’s millennials aren’t buying houses. The problem is particularly acute in Vancouver which according to a recent Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey is now the second least affordable housing market in the world – right behind Hong Kong and in front of Sydney. Throngs of young professionals in Vancouver and many other places are either still renting or living with their parents while housing prices remain outlandishly high. Although government intervention in recent months has been somewhat successful in pulling exorbitant values down, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

(REBGV) reports that the benchmark price of a detached home in Vancouver in April of this year was $1,425,000 – still exorbitantly high.

There are any number of theories and opinions as to what led to the current situation, but it is an indisputable fact that many would-be homebuyers remain frozen out of the market. Perhaps even more alarming is the fact that according to a recent edition of the Angus Reid-CIBC Housing Poll, many millennials who did manage to buy their first home in the past few years expressed ambivalence or regret about the purchase because of the financial difficulties they may face. It’s all enough to make any card-carrying, avocado toast loving millennial wish they were born a baby boomer – back in the good old days when home ownership was affordable.
Vancouver is a hot spot for immigration and as the population has increased (5% per year recently according to, the real estate market has struggled mightily to keep pace. The good news for millennials and anyone else interested in accumulating wealth through real estate investment is that all these people need to live somewhere. If they can’t afford to buy a home, they will rent and if a wannabe investor can’t afford a 20% downpayment on expensive property, they probably can afford to purchase a share in that same property. 

So if you think you want to be a real estate investor the good news is that you still can be. The rules for success may be changing a bit, but the game itself is alive and well. A recent groundbreaking collaborative study from economists from UC-Davis, the University of Bonn and The Deutsche Bundesbank (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 24112 Issued December 2017) revealed that in now-wealthy countries, over the past 100 years, real estate investments earned returns similar to stocks and equities, much greater than bonds or treasuries, and with 50% less risk than investing in the stock market. As it turns out, with the benefit of hindsight, real estate was the best bet! That’s an important fact to bear in mind when you are deciding where to place your own hard-earned money.