A common number I receive from clients as their ideal budget is $400,000.
This certainly sounds like a lot of money (and it is!), but even for a first time home buyer, or young couple starting out, it is an achievable target. Let's break down the numbers for a second:
- Let's go with a 10% Down Payment of $40,000
- Approximate Mortgage Monthly Payment: $1425 (includes CMHC Insurance for down payment under 20%)
- Strata Monthly Maintenance Fees: $250
- Property Tax (Monthly): $150
Total Monthly Cost (Approximate): $1825 (if you do save up for a 20% down payment, you can avoid CMHC Insurance, and your monthly payment will be $1650!)
Conventional wisdom says that your housing cost should represent no more than 40% of your salary. $1825 is 40% of $4560/month, or $55,000/year.
A single person earning $60,000/year - well, that's not easy. But for a couple - definitely achievable.
Hopefully that much math wasn't too exhausting. Either way, let's move on to the fun stuff.
What exactly does $400,000 buy you?
Over a series of posts, we will examine a few options in several cities across the Lower Mainland. I've been fortunate enough to help several people purchase homes in this range. Every time, we end up finding a place that fits their budget, suits their criteria, and leaves them very happy in their new home. It's easy to get disillusioned and frustrated with all of the chatter surrounding Vancouver real estate, but let's look into what may surprise you for the better!
Living in Downtown Vancouver may require sacrifices on space and the age of a building, but it shouldn't be ruled out. However, in the Lower Mainland, we're lucky that many excellent suburban communities lie within 20 minutes of Downtown. Even some of the furthest suburbs are under 40 minutes away by public transit from all of the action! Broadening your search to neighbouring cities including Burnaby, North Vancouver, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Richmond, and others can offer major benefits including a larger space, better access to the Greater Vancouver's natural beauty, a secured parking stall, and a greater set of building amenities.
If you've missed the other posts in this series, please see them here:
- Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody)
- New Westminster
- North Shore (North Vancouver, West Vancouver)
The closest neighbouring city to Downtown Vancouver is home to over 200,000 residents and rapidly growing. Featuring major shopping centres including Metrotown and the rapidly developing Brentwood and Lougheed Town Centres, Burnaby is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods to live in. Green space is abundant amongst Burnaby Mountain, Central Park, and Deer Lake. Learn more about Burnaby here.
Here is what Burnaby has to offer:
Situated in North Burnaby, in the heart of the rapidly changing and highly desirable Brentwood corridor, you can find yourself in the middle of a 9 years young concrete high-rise. A spacious 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom in 620 square feet along with parking and a locker, this home provides amazing access to transit in the closest neighbouring suburb to Downtown Vancouver! Did we mentioned the expansive city view?
Just a five minute drive from Metotown and you'll find yourself living this bright and smartly designed one bedroom in a 2007 Cressey built concrete high-rise. This home includes over 600 square feet, parking, and a storage locker. Building amenities are plentiful with an exercise centre, hot tub, sauna, and a games room. This is a great home in East Burnaby!
Twenty-three floors into the sky in the reputable Bosa -built Highgate complex in Burnaby South. An updated 1 bedroom suite with parking and storage is available in this tucked away transit friendly community. With both Highgate Village and Metrotown on your doorstep, all of your shopping and lifestyle needs will be taken care of. Relax in the building's hot tub while you think about what you were able to afford!
Another option buyers have to get into the market at a comfortable price point and one that enables more flexible payment schedules are pre-sales (see my previous post about pre-sales here).
Well, that's all for now! If you have any questions about these or any other properties, or wish to discuss other real estate opportunities, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,