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Vancouver first-time buyers overcome long odds

December 04, 2019

No housing market in Canada is more challenging for first-time buyers than Metro Vancouver. A recent survey by Zoocasa found it could take up to 100 years for a median-income buyer to save the 20 per cent downpayment for a typical house in some Vancouver neighbourhoods.
Yet about four out of every 10 homebuyers in Metro Vancouver this year were under the age of 35 and most of these were first-time buyers, according to surprising results from a recent Altus Group survey.
The benchmark price for a home in Metro Vancouver as of October was $992,900 and the typical detached home sells for $1.4 million, while the benchmark price for a condo apartment is $652,500. All of these prices are down 5 to 7 per cent compared to a year earlier, based on data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
Based on these numbers, Zoocasa estimates it would take at least 20 years for a typical first-time buyer to save the necessary downpayment. In three of the priciest luxury neighbourhoods including Richmond, Vancouver West, and West Vancouver it would actually take more than 100 years to come up with the needed funds,”  Zoocasa stated, based on the median income.
Altus found, however, that most recent first-time buyers in the Vancouver market area do not have high-ratio mortgages, with about two-thirds making a downpayment of 20 per cent. Only about one in six first-time buyers are putting down less than 10 per cent. 
So where is the money coming from? Altus said half the first-time buyers rely on savings and investments to cover the downpayment, but one in six first-time  buyers received assistance from family, either through gifts or inheritances.


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