A good discussion on the impact of rising interest rates on housing prices in the video below.  In particular, the focus on variable rate mortgages rising, in lock-step with pending Bank of Canada increases, is interesting.  A greater proportion of new mortgages have been towards variable rates in the past year or so.  That is simply due to the significantly lower rate they've provided, compared to fixed-rate mortgages in recent time.

That may be about to change, with direct communications from central banks, that interest rates are set to rise this year.  High priced markets in the Fraser Valley, like Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford are likely to now be quite sensitive to rising rates.  That is because the sky high prices now require very large mortgages on the part of most new buyers.  Affordability will be further strained with higher borrowing costs.

As I've suggested before, buyers should probably assume that we are heading into a rising rate environment.  Stress tests on paper are much different than when the reality of higher payments actually take hold and bite monthly household cashflow.

See: The surge in interest rates will be a hit to housing


Housing-Related Stress Rising for BC Families

Reknowned pollster Mario Canseco just published a very insightful piece that reveals "Housing-Related stress now tops financial worries for B.C. families".

Mr. Canseco's work was sobering to say the least.  He notes that:

"The data outlines a province where the worries of parents are moving away from issues like money, education and unscrupulous bosses. They are being replaced in some cases by concerns about finding a place to live or being able to cover the cost of a mortgage or rent. This month, 58 per cent of parents acknowledge experiencing housing-related stress, up five points since 2020."

In addtion to the above, the way Metro Vancouver parents are envisioning the future for their children is disheartening. The article states that: 

"Practically half of parents in the province (49 per cent) think their child (or one of their children) is likely to move away from the municipality where they live due to the high cost of living. While this represents a 16-point drop from the provincewide total we reported in 2020, there are two regions of B.C. where a majority of parents expect their children to move because of affordability: Metro Vancouver (56 per cent) and southern B.C. (52 per cent)."

The runaway price increases of the past couple of years, during the pandemic, have simply priced out many prospective homebuyers.  The dream of home ownership has sadly slipped away from too many; perhaps an entire generation, locally.

The Fraser Valley too is now priced beyond the means of many average working people and families. And if the majority of Metro Vancouver parents are envisioning their children having to move away due to high housing costs, there could be some serious implications down the road. Surely, the social fabric and vitality of the local community is at risk, if we hollow out the ability of the younger generation to find affordable housing to remain here.  There are social implications for housing prices that escape the means of the average family.  

The Fraser Valley still might offer some hope for younger or first-time buyers. But it may have to be in the apartment sector or townhouse space, if one has the means. I continue to advise buyers to only pay what they can comfortably afford, to ensure a balanced and sustainable financial future.  There are other goals in life, beyond a house, to live a meaningful and fullfilling life.  As such, it's important to truthfully gauge what your affordability limit is.  And if you can't carve out the life you want, because of extraordinarily high rental or mortgage payments, then it's important to assess whether living here is financially feasible.

It seems that the majority of Metro Vancouver parents have a sense of what the answer is for their children.

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