Boomers, Millennials and the Vancouver Real Estate Market

Elizabeth Wilson
May 17, 2014

It's a statistic lover's paradise: Bob Rennie's annual address to the Urban Development institute. And on May 15 th, 2014, the more than 900 developers and industry experts who gathered for the numerical extravaganza weren't disappointed.

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  • According to a survey of 3,007 people in the Rennie Marketing database, location, price, proximity to transit, and building amenities are the top four drivers in first time buyer's purchase decision. Green construction continued to lag in final place even among buyers who don't own a car. "First time buyers are not philanthropist out to save the planet the day they buy a home," Rennie noted.
  • The burgeoning 25 34 age group accounts for 72% of the first-time buyer market.
  • Within Metro Vancouver, 43% of 25 34s have their name on the title of the property they live in, although in Richmond that number skyrockets to a whopping 69%. In Toronto, only 34% own the home they live in.
  • Energy centres like Metrotown, Richmond Centre, Marine Gateway, and the rebirth of Brentwood will continue strong because consumers increasingly want to be on transit or walk to everything.
  • Downtown Vancouver remains the "ultimate energy centre." Demand continues strong. Of 930 condos that completed in 2013, only 130 are left unsold.Projecting to 2016 and beyond, only 1,600 are completions anticipated, 600 are already sold and another 500 are located in hyper-luxury buildings.
  • Vancouver's 55 to 74-year-old demographic accounts for some $163 billion in homeownership(approximately 284,000 homes), $113.4 billion of it clear title. The over 75 market accounts for another $50 billion.
  • In Metro Vancouver, one third of the housing stock now has more bedrooms than people living there a number that's risen 26% in the last decade. New housing stock has risen only 17% in the same period.
  • A too-often-overlooked stat Rennie said dispels the myth we're most expensive place on earth: 69% of all home sales are to people who already own, a number that's remained constant for over 10 years. Space and luxury matters more to these buyers than the built form, and whether their existing home sells for $2.4 million or $1.9 million is of less concern than square footage, luxury, and ability to walk to coffee, groceries and amenities.

As in previous years, he also suggested removing the upper 20% when calculating average housing costs yields a more accurate snapshot of the Metro Vancouver market because it is more reflective of the buyer who relies on local income. This adjustment sees the average cost of a single-family home drop from $998,000 to $670,000. With a 25% down payment, this price would require a combined household income of $60,000 to achieve a mortgage. In the condo market, the average price falls from $442,000 to $313,000. Again with a 25% down payment, achieving a mortgage would require only $30,000 of household income.


Elizabeth Wilson
As content editor, Elizabeth spends every day immersed in real estate news and opinion so she can deliver fresh, relevant articles to’s visitors. She comes from a varied background in Internet marketing, book publishing, multimedia writing and radio, but what prepared her best for this position is her experience as a renter, seller and buyer in the Vancouver real estate market.