How (and why) to get into the Victoria real estate market

Dated: February 3 2021

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You probably can't afford the home you want in Victoria. You know who else can't afford the home they want in Victoria? Everybody. Everybody can't afford the home they want in Victoria. Yet.

Houses are expensive in Victoria. Why? Because the land is expensive. Why? Because it's nice here, and they're not making any more of it. The land, that is. And when someone buys an old house they often knock it down and build an expensive new house. Why? Because the land is expensive and it's hard to change the zoning.

So what the hell can a regular person do?

Regular people who want to get into the Victoria market have to play the long game. If you can't afford the home you want right now, you buy the home you can afford. Oftentimes this means a condo. "Gah!" you say. "I don't want to live in a condo!" (ignoring the fact that in cities you've heard of like New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo no one lives in a detached house.)

But wait! You're playing the long game now. You're just getting into the market because when you're in the market you're building equity. What's equity? It's the difference between what you owe the bank (your mortgage) and what your home is worth.

Despite what you may have heard, real estate isn't always a good investment. Not if you have to get your money out fast, and not if you want a huge return. You can make more money in the stock market - but on the other hand, you can't live in your stock portfolio. And the bank won't give you a mortgage to buy stocks.

But if you have a down payment and you have an income the bank usually will give you a mortgage to buy a condo. And if you bought a condo a year ago in the right neighbourhood in Victoria, that condo could be worth 9%-17% more than you paid for it. That's tens of thousands of dollars of equity - equity you can use as the down payment on a different home, a home one step closer to your dream home. One step closer.

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Chris Logan

A Victoria resident for over 20 years, I grew up in Halifax and studied at Dalhousie University, Concordia, and the National Theatre School. Several years in the music industry then led to an extended....

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