Purchase a home or investment property?

7 Replies

Hi everyone, 

I'm currently living in Calgary and looking to purchase my first home.  I've been looking mainly at 2-bedroom condos in Vancouver since around April, and am really split on whether or not it's a good time to buy.  On one hand, I'd like to put my rental money into equity instead of the 1.2k I'm paying monthly right now, but on the other hand, the condo prices in Vancouver proper just seem so inflated.  The prices for what I'm looking for range from around $550k to $700k (newer than 2010 2-bed near transit and reasonably central).  In Calgary I can get a decent detached in a nice area for that much easily.  I'm open to purchasing in Calgary as well, but ideally I would like to settle down in Vancouver.  I'm aware condos won't appreciate that much, but for me it would be mainly just a place to settle down so as long as the prices remain steady I'm good.

My other option is to invest into a couple of less expensive places in a city with a healthy rental market and just live abroad for a year or two.  I'm in a unique situation where I'm a computer engineer who works from home, so really I can move anywhere that would provide me with a visa and has a good internet connection.

I'd really appreciate any feedback that you guys can give me, I've been stressing about this for nearly half a year now.  Got the idea of investing and/or living abroad from all those International House Hunter episodes on HGTV. :) 

Kai, this is a lifestyle question disguised as an investment dilemma.  I'm tied down with 5 young children and a mortgage.  I'm inclined to urge you to buy the rentals and travel while you can.  Once this season of your life passes you probably won't have this opportunity again... or maybe not for many decades.   If you love your town and you're having so much fun that you're life quality would diminish by moving, then stay put.  Your choice.  Just appreciate that this is a 1st world problem you are struggling with.  Cheers.

Thanks for the advice Brett!  I'm leaning that way myself, will likely make a move before year-end, so still have some time.  

I'm pretty set on Vancouver or Burnaby, I just really prefer urban living, and I love being by the ocean for lifestyle as well as health reasons (dry thin air doesn't do my skin or lungs any good).  I've looked in New Westminster as well, which is actually very reasonably priced, even cheaper than Calgary in some cases.  It isn't exactly a bastion of culture, cuisine, and parks though, which are 3 of the most important factors to me.

hi Kai,

I'm in Vancouver and have lived here for over 20 years. Please let me know if you have any questions about certain areas etc. 

New West is changing a lot when it comes to culture etc. and everyone I know who lives there likes it. I also think you will probably get the best value for your dollar as far as square footage goes.

An area I really like is Port Moody or Coquitlam. There is a new transit line being built now which will be complete in 2016. It's more North so it's close to the mountains etc. Lots of outdoor activities there.  This area is really growing and is really easy to rent out if you're looking for an investment propert. We have a condo there.

I might be a little jaded because Vancouver has changed so much in the last 20 years and my life has changed so much (family and kids) but it feels like people are finding the cost of living to be really really unaffordable here. 

My advice if you want to live here is to come here and rent for a few months to get a feel for the area you like. West End, Coal Harbour, Yaletown, Kits, Main St., South Granville etc and then decide.  You will always be able to rent your place in Vancouver if you want to travel so I wouldn't worry about that aspect of the investment.

Good luck!

Hi Tanya,

That's exactly the kind of info I've been looking for, thanks a lot!  I've started looking at Port Moody and Coquitlam now around the planned Evergreen line, and places there seem a lot more reasonably priced.  I may reach out if I find something that catches my eye there.  Again, I appreciate the advice!   

Kai DeNeve
If you were coming from an investment stand point buying a condo in Vancouver doesn't make sense. If you are just wanting to move there in a years time maybe but this is more lifestyle than investment. If you want to build something up long term look at an area of Calgary where you can cash flow (there are some areas). They will be much harder to find in Vancouver.