As we move solidly into the new year, we see an unprecedented number of variables at play locally and around the world. Financial, economic, cultural, political. Which of these variables, and to what extent, will affect you or I is really just a guessing game. To further confuse matters, these variables are subject to an endless stream of analyses, opinion, interpretation, sound bites, headlines, and social media carry-on from friends, acquaintances, unknowns, sponsored posts, trouble-makers, and so much more. It's all enough to cause a person to run for the hills and live off-grid! However, chances are few of us will head for the hills. Perhaps the Okanagan or Kootenays one day, however...
To stray off real estate for just a moment, consider turning off your digital feeds once in a while. Try a day here and there with no Facebook, no televised news, no web-based opinion sites. You might just come to realize that you can live quite well without 95% or so of the "noise" that, really, won't make a difference in your life. I'll bet many people access Facebook as often as a smoker reaches for a cigarette, the epitome of a bad habit. If you give it a chance I'll bet you'll feel better!
Do what's right for you
Bringing this back to Greater Vancouver real estate in early 2017, I suggest that you focus on your own personal situation, goals and plans. Wherever the real estate market is going, it will go. If you feel you need to move, or want a bigger home -- or a smaller home -- or a home in another neighbourhood or city, your needs are your needs, regardless of the daily media stream. Sure, your home may have been worth a bit more a few months ago. But chances are its replacement (your new home) will have also decreased in value. You may end up even, or ahead of the game. And as I'm reminded of so often, there's no point in stressing about something you can't change.
Getting into the market
Home values here in Greater Vancouver remain some of the highest in the world. If you own here now or are able to purchase here, take a moment to consider your good fortune. If you'd like to buy a first home but are worried about the market dropping further, here's a few things to keep in mind:
Despite media reports to the contrary, some sectors of the market have not dropped significantly in value; others, especially at the lower end of the market, continue to maintain their values or, in some cases, increase in value.
With today's low interest rates, a significant proportion of your monthly mortgage payment will be applied towards your principal reduction. This is so much better than 100% of your payment going towards your landlord's mortgage!
If you're planning to be in Vancouver for several years, work on developing a long-term, multi-year perspective rather than succumbing to the anxieties that a short-term view can bring.
Finally, the Greater Vancouver area remains one of the world's most desirable places to live. Tens of thousands of people move here every year from all over Canada and the world. Odds are good that this will not change. We may see some ups and downs in values, but, longer term, if you plan to live here for the foreseeable future you're likely better off owning a home, rather than renting.
Making the decision to buy for the first time; sell your current home and then buy again; or cash out of the Greater Vancouver market for good can be fraught with stress. You can endlessly analyze, second-guess and debate things. As mentioned above, it's best to focus on your own situation and needs. As we move into the next few weeks we should see some stability and clearer direction for some market sectors, although likely not all.
Contact me anytime if you'd like to discuss your particular situation. I'm here to help.
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(This article was originally published in my January e-newsletter. Drop me a line if you'd like to subscribe.)