Residential real estate in Vancouver has shown remarkable resilience in the current downturn. While the market has recorded a 5 percent decline in home values compared to the peak reached in 2008, home prices in Vancouver have risen, on average, 17 percent each year since 1980. This has made Vancouver’s property market lucrative and attractive to property investors. The trend should persist as a slew of market indicators, economic fundamentals, and other factors suggest that demand for housing in Vancouver-and therefore the market prospects for strong investment performance-should remain strong.
Various indicators paint a rosy picture of the property market activity in Vancouver. Housing sales in the January-August period are about 14 percent higher than in the same period last year. Yet, this compares to an expected decline in housing sales of nearly 15 percent in the country as a whole. In fact, the home sales rebound in Canada, forecast for next year, will be driven primarily by a robust recovery in sales in British Columbia and Alberta, with the Vancouver area leading the way. Increased housing demand, especially given limited inventory levels, will put an upward pressure on prices, making investments in real estate in Vancouver highly desirable.
In fact, inventory levels in Vancouver have already fallen as many buyers have taken the advantage of low mortgage rates and well-priced properties in desirable locations. New listings are down approximately 23 percent from last year. According to RE/MAX Canada, residential real estate market in Vancouver is currently considered balanced, with purchasers and vendors on the same page for the first time in years. This has exerted pressures on prices, which bodes well for those expecting to earn capital returns on their investment properties.
On the other hand, although the unemployment rate in British Columbia has increased by 3.5 percentage points in a year to 7.7 percent in the second quarter of 2009, wages in the region have actually increased by 2.2 percent. At the same time, consumer confidence has rebounded and most Canadians now believe that the market is expected to turn around, making this the right time to buy. Considering the impending economic recovery, British Columbia, including Vancouver, should see employment and wages rebound. As the region is expected to lead the rebound in the housing activity in Canada next year, Vancouver real estate investments should benefit from the current and emerging economic trends.
In fact, Canadian real estate market-and especially that of Vancouver-should prove attractive to international real estate investors for several reasons. Canada’s economic growth next year will be at least double that expected in the United States and more than quadruple that of Europe. Moreover, the Canadian banking sector, which is ranked by the World Economic Forum as the soundest banking system in the world, has created a sound financial environment in Canada that ensures the security of real estate investments in an otherwise highly volatile global investment environment. Besides, the advent of the 2010 Olympics and the opportunity to showcase Vancouver globally should bode well for residential real estate in the coming year. Therefore, investing in Vancouver’s real estate could be a sound investment strategy for international investors.
In general, prospects for a strong demand for real estate in Vancouver look optimistic. The expected rebound in housing activity, along with an economic recovery, strong financial sector, and the coming 2010 Olympics all bode well for investments in Vancouver’s real estate. Investing in Vancouver properties has proven lucrative so far and will likely continue to be a choice for many local and international investors.