Reflections on 2014

2014 will be remembered as a year of upheaval which dominated headlines around the globe. Geopolitical issues once again led the news with new waves of terrorism emanating from the Middle East having far reaching impacts outside of the region while Russia took an aggressive stance on the Ukraine border. Climate change, winter storms and the Ebola crisis round out some of the major news events of 2014.

On the economic front, we’ve witnessed a deteriorating global economy with many countries struggling to recover from recessionary pressures; and more recently, the price of oil has plummeted giving further cause for concern. Fortunately, economic activity in the United States has been improving and as Canada’s largest trading partner, we have benefited through increasing exports as a result of our lower valued Canadian dollar.

Despite this volatility, the real estate market in Vancouver performed well in 2014. Sales transactions on the Vancouver and Fraser Valley MLS topped 47,000 this year, the highest level since 2009, and at Polygon we welcomed 1,214 families to their new homes.

Destination Vancouver

Vancouver is one of the most desirable places in the world to call home. Over the last thirty years Vancouver has experienced significant population growth as a result of immigration creating a vibrant and diverse multi-cultural city.

Vancouver is consistently recognized as one of the world’s “most livable cities” because of its natural beauty, healthy and safe environment, world class health care and exceptional educational opportunities for our children.

In 2015 it is forecast that upwards of 40,000 new immigrants will arrive in British Columbia, many of whom will locate in the Lower Mainland. It’s no wonder as the amenities we offer, combined with a sound Provincial government, create a welcoming environment to raise a family and provide a safe place for long term investment.

Rent or Own

I’ve been saying this for a few years but it’s worth repeating…low interest rates have created incredible home buying opportunities particularly for first-time homebuyers! Shortly after I started working at Polygon back in 1987, mortgage rates were around 13%! Today, five-year mortgages at 2.99% are readily available, significantly lowering the monthly payment on a new home.

A common debate I heard over the holidays was “Should I buy or keep renting?” The strong influx of people to Vancouver has resulted in the lowest vacancy rates in years. With unprecedented demand for rental properties, many landlords are seeking higher rents for older and “tired” apartments. This competitive rental environment has prompted many first time buyers to make the leap to homeownership as the cost of owning is almost more favourable than renting, particularly when you consider that average condominium prices in metro Vancouver have increased by 63% over the last ten years!

The biggest hurdle for many first time buyers is not the monthly payment, but the down payment required for a new home. One trend that we see continuing in 2015 is that many smart parents and family members are leveraging the equity in their current homes to help out with the down payment for their adult children hoping to get into the housing market.

Looking Ahead

At Polygon, we are gearing up for another active year and we’re on track to begin construction on over 1,600 new homes! We remain confident that Vancouver will continue to be a top destination for new arrivals and we believe that economic conditions will keep mortgage rates low making 2015 an ideal time to buy a new home.

Today over 25,000 families live in a Polygon home and we remain committed to quality design, sound construction and exceptional customer service. If 2015 is the year you are looking for a new home, I encourage you to start your search with Polygon.