There is currently much attention being paid to the relatively low monthly sales volumes compared to the booming markets of years past in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. This is causing some alarm amongst some market observers and giving pause to many prospective home buyers. While I agree that caution is warranted in this market (or any market for that matter), I’m a big believer in the upward trajectory of our region’s housing prices in the long-term.
Vancouver, it’s suburbs, and further out into the Fraser Valley, are all desirable places to live. Vancouver has once again been named by the Economist Intelligence Unit as being ranked within the top 5 places to live globally. This is an honour that has been bestowed on the city for many many years. And for good reason. The Metro Vancouver area has a stunning natural beauty that our mountains and water bodies provide, that few other major metropolitan areas can match. Besides the stunning scenery, we who live here are blessed with relatively clean air and pure water that is second to none in my opinion. Crime too is not as big an issue as say in some major US cities, insofar as you generally feel safe walking around our city streets. We are a diverse multicultural society that is peaceful and welcoming overall. This makes Vancouver very unique in the world.
Now, this isn’t to say that everything is perfect in Vancouver or the Fraser Valley. Of course there are challenges with our transportation infrastructure (i.e. highway 1, rapid transit etc.), traffic, and congestion due to density. And I would be amiss in failing to mention the major affordability issues that local income earners have in buying a home here. But by far, the advantages of living in this most beautiful region outweigh any of the negatives.
There is a reason that so many international immigrants seek out and settle in the Metro Vancouver region each year. They love our scenery, schools, clean environment and peaceful living conditions. Vancouver is a global city now. It’s on the radar of immigrants from all across the globe. Given the political turbulence being seen in the US right now, it may be that Canada (and Vancouver specifically), are seen as a beacon of hope, more than ever. Or at least as a stable peace-loving society.
Geographically, Metro Vancouver has a limited land base to build out. This is because to our immediate south runs the United States border, to the North are the mountains, to the west we are bounded by the sea and to the East, we have a large percentage of land that is protected under the agricultural land reserve (ALR). When you combine these geographic constraints with the ever increasing demand for people to relocate to this amazing Metro area, it is likely that any price correction that may materialize in our housing market will likely be short and shallow.
There are strong fundamentals supporting our housing market here. It has been this way for decades. So, while we may be in a cyclical downturn at the moment, as some are suggesting, the long-term secular trend in this region is up in my opinion. It is why I believe that any weakness signals a buying opportunity for those astute enough to maintain a long-term perspective.
I am proud and confident in my stance as a perma-bull on this great city that I am fortunate enough to call home.