Saturday, April 13, 2013

Richmond Realtor says Lower Mainland houses overpriced by at least 30% in terms of viable economic investments

Our last post documenting Toronto condo king Brad Lamb's incredulous investment advice ("If you’d rather not eat cat food in your retirement, you’d better invest in condos") generated significant debate with numerous pro-side comments from some industry players.

With that in mind, we offer you Richmond realtor James Wong's most recent take on real estate as an investment.

Wong starts out by comparing Metro Vancouver with Seattle (click on image to enlarge):

Says Wong:
The factors affecting Metro Vancouver detached home prices are not the same as those in Seattle. The graph above illustrates the relative price gains for Metro Vancouver and Seattle from 1994 to 2012. Seattle gained 2 times, while Metro Vancouver gained almost 3 times in value over the same period.

Metro Vancouver suffered short one year drop in home sales and prices during the credit crunch of 2008. Home sales and prices recovered within a year, and moved higher when interest rates were slashed and kept at ultra-low level around 3% until today.
Wong then asks 'what's the future for Vancouver home prices?"
Average older detached homes in Richmond, Burnaby and East Vancouver are currently selling between $740,000 to $850,000.

The current rental income from a older detached home with around 2,300 sq ft living area is approximately $2,300 a month. With a mortgage of $400,000 at 3.15%, amortized over 25 years, an investor is at beak-even point with his/her real estate investment paying $1,925 a month principal and interest. The balance $375 a month from the rent barely covers property tax and routine repairs. Any big ticket item repairs will have to be met with the investor’s own savings.
Wong lays it all out and states emphatically that current home prices in Metro Vancouver are out of whack with rental returns.
In the above example, an investor after providing $135,000 (25%) down payment, and financing his purchase with $400,000 mortgage, his investment will break-even at a purchase price of $535,000. Current home prices are way higher than the above figure. 
Home prices in Metro Vancouver are reversing the gains made the past 6 years. A drop in price of 30% is required before a home in the above areas is economically viable for long term investment.
So Wong's advice to you is that houses have to collapse at least 30% in price before they are economically viable to buy for long-term investment purposes.

Guess he missed out on Lamb's seminar. Either that or he's smart enough to see it for what it is.

Are you?


Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.


  1. I'm sure someone will retort that rent should increase by 30%...

    1. haha, some landlords try it; Vancouver is already one of the most unaffordable cities to live in