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RBC points to apartments as the most affordable housing type in Vancouver. (Source: RBC Economics)

Researching what’s affordable housing

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Real estate is one of Vancouver’s favourite topics, and its especially tough to escape right now.

One of the hottest talking points is affordability. Our local MLA held a townhall meeting on the topic last week, on the heels of a recent RBC report suggesting that single-detached home prices that are “detached from reality” and that condos offer the closest thing to affordable housing for most buyers at an average price of $467,000 (Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s benchmark price for apartments last month was $454,600).

Research the market

Buying an apartment at RBC’s price would require 44.1% of the average household’s income. That’s not affordable by most measures, yet a search of Vancouver Westside real estate listings uncovers 24 properties, most of them Kitsilano condos for sale, that come in below this alleged average price.

Look for clues

A look at what’s actually available gives buyers some tips that could help narrow their search (or tame their expectations). The typical apartment that’s on the market is older (most of the available properties listings were built before 2000), and is listed for an average of $675 a square foot – but there’s plenty listed for less than that. The units average 600 square feet, with a strata fee typically in the range of $300 a month.

Find solutions

It’s easy to complain about how unaffordable housing is; it’s another thing to research the market and see what’s actually available in search of solutions. This helps avoid surprises and disappointments. I enjoy searching through Point Grey and Dunbar condos for sale to find what clients are looking for, because this leads to pleasant surprises, and successes for everyone.

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