Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Renters 4 Ever or How I Learned to Stop Worrying, and love the Housing Bubble

I've changed my mind about not writing anything until the deal is done. It can't hurt to fill in a little of the back story right?

Not too long ago a guy from the bank called to see how our house hunt was progressing. "We've given up on this whole house thing" I told him. He comisserated that yeah, housing prices were definitely crazy in Vancouver, but always on the job, he reminded me that they're just likely to keep climbing.

He was right. A recent feature in the Georgia Straight claims that housing prices have gone up 70% since 2000 with the average home selling for $705,141. Vancouver is now the 15th most expensive city in the world with the median housing price 6.6 times greater then the median household income. Winnipeg by comparison is just 2.4.

We'd been close a few times. The most recent was a great old place in Strathcona that was the kind of fixer upper that would make Mike Holmes faint. We managed to bring an inspector with us when they did the open house, and so we descended on the place one rainy afternoon when an assorted mix of other couples, most of whom looked like isotopes of us.

After we gave the place a going over, we had a hushed conversation in the alley with the inspector. The bottom line was that the $479 K price was too much considering the work needed. We were prepared for some extensive renovations, but he basically told us we would have to practically rebuild the place before we could move in, so we could should expect to add at least another $150K + to the original price before we could even move in. We found out later that it went for $545K. The people who bought it did so without an inspection. We sat at home thinking that maybe everybody has lost their minds.

More tomorrow.

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