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Potential purchasers make their way into an open house in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood of Vancouver, on January 15, 2012. (Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail)
Potential purchasers make their way into an open house in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood of Vancouver, on January 15, 2012. (Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail)

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Readers respond: Vancouver real estate market strategies Add to ...

Buying now? Hoping to sell? Renting long-term? We asked and readers answered. The question we asked was: How are you planning to approach the Vancouver housing market over the next five years?

We've selected some of the responses and reproduced them below.

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“I'll be paying off my mortgage ASAP, since even a variable mortgage of under 3% is at a huge spread of over 2% over the real cost of borrowing (to the banks). 3% may seem cheap, but not in relation to inflation or savings interest (if one's equity were instead invested at the going risk-free rate). The coming crash will be grim, and having minimum debt and cash flow out will be the best strategy to come through it.”

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– Randy Chatterjee, Vancouver homeowner

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“I am upsizing, and recently sold my downtown condo for a good profit. Will use that money to upsize to a townhouse in the 'burbs. In the meantime I am renting to wait for a price adjustment.”

– Si Guy, Vancouver renter hoping to buy in Burnaby

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“I hope to be able to buy a place in the next five years. Expectations have to be lowered in terms of property type and location. While my parents could afford a detached home in Dunbar, I would like a townhouse in further east neighbourhoods, such as Renfrew Heights. I want to wait until I have as large of a down payment as possible and have financial stability to afford mortgage payments. Seeing how expensive homes in Vancouver are is really disheartening.”

– Laura Johnstone, Kitsilano renter hoping to buy in East Vancouver

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“We plan to rent out our condo here in Vancouver (not a good time for us to sell our condo now), and move to Toronto.”

– Linda Ragot, Vancouver homeowner without a mortgage

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“Paying down as fast as possible by making maximum payments. But not moving. I have a great place, it's not just about price and now is not the time to sell.”

– Peter Thornton, Yaletown homeowner

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“Moved from Vancouver years ago, living in Europe since 2002 and worried about the prices people have paid since 2005. Come on, people. Vancouver is beautiful but the real estate prices are, well, insane. I now have two children over here and would consider moving back, if prices drop by 25% or more.”

– Shawn Mendes, Stockholm, Sweden, renter hoping to buy in Vancouver's West End

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“Got down payment and ready to buy after the drop! I've been waiting for this for five years!”

– David Heimbecker, White Rock renter hoping to own in South Surrey

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“We are a family of 4, living in the Olympic Village for about 1.5 years (moved from Zurich, Switzerland). We love living here, however would not consider buying at this moment. Our rent does not cover our landlord's costs (mortgage, strata fees, property taxes) for the condo. We are in no rush to buy in what we see as an overheated market. There is a lot of pressure to get into the Vancouver real estate market, real estate agents speak of a never-ending climb in prices and you need to get in now before it is too late. Is this really so? Our plan is to wait and see what happens. If the market is still overvalued, we will most likely rent a condo in the city and buy property elsewhere. ”

– Cara Hogan, Olympic Village renter hoping to own in the Olympic Village or West Vancouver

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“Paying off the mortgage in the next 18 months. I will have an extra 1350 every two weeks after that! And only have to pay taxes and maintenance. I drive a 17-year-old vehicle so will get a new car. It's all in your priorities. Paying off the mortgage is paying myself first. Makes sense to me! Oh and it will have taken 11 years to do so!”

– Christine Roy, Vancouver homeowner

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“Either to keep renting or moving out of Vancouver entirely. The housing market caters to only the extremely wealthy or the insane and it is impossible for me to own in this market.”

– Joe Bowser, East Vancouver renter

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“I am resigned to the fact that I will never be able to afford a house in Vancouver. Having been born and raised in a single family home on the west side of Vancouver, I would like to have that lifestyle for myself and my future children. However, I do not foresee a path in the next five to ten years that will make owning a single family home a financial reality. Condo ownership is an option, but I am scared off by nightmare stories from friends who own in stratas, and it's seemingly impossible to save for a down payment. I don't see myself leaving the rental market anytime soon.”

– Dave Munroe, downtown Vancouver renter hoping to own on the west side

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“I live in a co-op in False Creek and I plan on staying there – I'm in a great location and I pay a reasonable amount in rent. Co-op housing: it's the only way to go in Vancouver!”

– Lesley Patterson, Fairview renter

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“Saving up and waiting to see what happens. Right now, it's cheaper to rent than to own and with the likelihood of a correction growing with each week, I'm in no rush. Using the standard metric of household income to real estate price, I am waiting until it settles to a more reasonable ratio of less than 4 times my personal household income. Currently, income and real estate values have become so grossly decoupled that it is only a matter of time before prices have to revert to the mean as interest rates begin to rise, further cutting off fuel to the over priced housing market. ”

– Chris Revell, Burnaby renter hoping to own in North Vancouver

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“Stuck in a condo with no hope of ever owning a house in this city, despite the fact we are both working professionals. Hoping to permanently leave city to somewhere we can afford to live.”

– Darryl Leniuk, North Burnaby condo owner hoping to own in Burnaby or Vancouver

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“My family income is 75K, I am renting and I am paying $1100+150 utilities. I have saved 150K so far and saving more so I can put 20% down. I am happy with the new rule. I have a 20% down payment and I will buy a house in Surrey. I am waiting for the correction. I am sure minimum it will make 10% difference, if sales are down for another couple of months.”

– Vinay Nagpal, Surrey renter planning to buy in Surrey

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“I love Vancouver and want to buy a house for my young family, but I waited for the last 5 years and sure will wait until the market is down by 30% at least.”

– Eric M., Vancouver renter hoping to buy in Vancouver

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“We bought our house around Fraser and 25th for $820,000 with 20% down. We went with a variable 5-year mortgage at prime minus 0.70% with a 35-year amortization and accelerated semi-monthly payments. Our mortgage is flexible and allows us to double our scheduled payments, which we have done and then some. Of the $112K we've made in total payments so far, 74% has gone to principal.

Our future plans? To live in our house for the next 30 years and pay it off as fast as possible. We've never viewed our home as an investment; it's a place to live that may or may not provide a return at the end of 30 years. We love where we live and, frankly, I could not care less about the current state of Vancouver real estate.  I'll get back to you in 30 years though...”

– Randal Stephens, Kensington / Cedar Cottage homeowner with a mortgage

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We won't be monitoring the responses closely from now on, but if you'd like us to help tell your real estate story you can fill out the form below (link for mobile users here) or e-mail community@globeandmail.com to reach an editor directly.

 

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