Those who are searching outside of the city are on to something. By buying elsewhere, you can score much more than what you’d get with an average Vancouver home – at a lower price. And that’s a fantastic idea for those who grew up looking to have a place of their own.
Our baseline here: we need to get creative.
It goes without saying that many of us feel lost in a sea of numbers and housing prices, and that makes us lose perspective over the issue at hand. We forget that there are ways to make our situation work, as long as we keep an open mind.
Of course, lower prices don’t necessarily mean that everyone can afford to buy a home right now – we get it. But it’s nice to know that there are at least options out there.
To help bring light to this issue, Daily Hive teamed up with Vancity to show how creativity can help you score housing options you never imagined. We’ve listed six areas to move outside of Vancouver, and included what’s so special about each one.
Average one-bedroom price: $400,000+
This one definitely hits the top of the list for housing options in Metro Vancouver. This walkable neighbourhood was once primarily known for the Metropolis at Metrotown Mall, but now it’s a highly sought-after area to live. New developments are popping up in Metrotown and many of them offer space and a price range that you can’t get in Vancouver.
Another plus of living in this area is that you’re well-connected to Vancouver thanks to the SkyTrain. You can easily hit downtown with just a mere 15-minute ride, and you’ll get to enjoy the scenery along the way. Many complexes near Metrotown are close to tons of urban amenities like gyms, restaurants, grocery stores, and entertainment – you name it.
Prices in this Metro Vancouver location for apartments vary. We did some digging and found some one-bedroom apartments between $350,000 and $400,000 with amenities like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, nine-foot-high ceilings, and in-suite laundry. In this area, you can enjoy absolutely stunning views of the city and mountains living within walking distance of Royal Oak SkyTrain station.
If you want to get creative, you could search for a two-bedroom and rent one out of the rooms. Having a roomie would make it a lot easier to pay off a mortgage.
Average one-bedroom price: $300,000+
One of the main reasons why people move to Coquitlam is for its combination of nature and city life. Within the same day, you can go shopping at Coquitlam Centre mall then go hiking, biking, and trail running. There’s tons of green space here and you’ll find it at the parks throughout the city.
Go to the Colony Farm Regional Park and watch the birds while sinking your feet into the lush grass. And whatever you do, don’t forget about the fishing. There’s plenty of room for that at the Coquitlam River.
You can find some pretty good deals in Coquitlam. As an example, we’ve found a number of one-bedroom apartments for just over $300,000 – complete with large living rooms, ensuite laundry, and new kitchens, with local amenities just a short walk away.
Prices vary throughout Coquitlam but if you’re really looking for a great deal, then it doesn’t hurt to get creative and buy a little smaller. Vancity has a first-time home buyer’s hub that will help you figure out what works best for you, not to mention a variety of different mortgages. For example, with their Mixer mortgage, you could share your first purchase with family members, a roommate, or friends. It also comes with legal and insurance support to protect everyone’s best interests.
Average one-bedroom price: $300,000+
Many people know Port Moody as the “City of Arts” which makes this area an innately creative option in itself. It boasts beautiful parks, waterfront beaches, and shopping – not to mention lots of different activities to keep you busy. Take your dog for a walk to Rocky Point Park and gaze at the stunning Burrard Inlet.
Newport Village is one of the most popular areas in Port Moody and it’s easy to see why. It houses more than 50 different stores so you get that big city feel with welcoming small town vibes.
The Port Moody Arts Centre includes new exhibitions on a regular basis along with galleries and performances. This means that year round, you can catch tons of different plays and concerts.
But what really gets us about Port Moody is the affordability of its housing. There are plenty of housing options, and we found one-bedrooms in the $300,000 price range. Many of them have a private patio, brand new flooring, ensuite storage, a den, and much more. Better yet, some of these places are located close to the Millennium Line Evergreen Extension, so it’s ultra-easy to get around.
If you want to get the best bang for your buck, a fixer upper might be your best choice – you can make changes to it slowly, and with a lower down payment, you’ll have an easier transition to your new ‘hood.
Average one-bedroom price: $250,000 – $300,000+
New West is a colourful up-and-coming area that’s packed with activities. Visit art galleries, enjoy the nightlife, go cycling, watch a concert, and explore the green spaces throughout the city. What’s also really nice is that the area is super walkable.
New Westminster has been advocating for affordable housing for a while. In fact, in 2010, it completed an affordable housing strategy. Most recently, the area was listed as the sixth most affordable community in Vancity’s housing affordability study.
Many of the apartments in the city will have ensuite laundry, a gym, and spacious living spaces. And you’ll be happy to know that when we were looking, we found a one-bedroom at 650 square feet for just under $200,000 in the heart of New West.
To help yourself along the path to home ownership, see if you qualify for the BC HOME Partnership program, a new provincially-backed loan program. It could match the amount you’ve already saved for a down payment – up to $37,500 or 5% of the home’s purchase price.
Average one-bedroom price: $300,000+
Lougheed is rapidly growing. In fact, the neighbourhood of Lougheed is one of the biggest master-planned communities in Canada. What makes this area so special is that it provides access to a major transportation hub that has two SkyTrain lines and a huge bus loop, linking people to Vancouver and other notable areas in the Lower Mainland.
Lougheed sits on about 40 acres of land and includes tons of amenities spread out across a sophisticated public space that includes a plaza and park at its centre. There are pathways that give access to green space, cycling routes, and roomy sidewalks.
As of right now, you can buy a place in this area for anywhere from $300,000 to $400,000 depending on the size of space you’re looking for. Think along the lines of a kitchen with granite countertops, an ensuite storage area, a condo building that includes a gym, and more. You can easily find a luxurious home for just a fraction of the price that you’d be paying in Vancouver.
When looking for a place, a lot of people forget to take advantage of their RRSPs. Luckily, the Canadian Government’s RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan allows for first-time home buyers to borrow up to $25,000 from your RRSP for a down payment, tax-free. That means that if you’re purchasing with someone who is also a first-time home buyer you can both access $25,000 from your RRSP for a combined total of $50,000.
Average one-bedroom price: $250,000
If you’re looking for a community that’s constantly growing and offers everything you need, then Surrey’s perfect for you – especially if you’re looking to buy an affordable place. Downtown Surrey has three SkyTrain stations and is packed with culture. There are recreation centres with memberships that give you full throttle access to state-of-the-art exercise equipment, pools, ice skating, and much more.
We did some digging and found nice one-bedroom apartments starting in the $250,000 price bracket. Enjoy secure underground parking, an apartment with large square footage, a nice kitchen to throw your dinner parties, and much more. Even if you get an older apartment, you’ll still get to enjoy tons of space, and it’s fun to put time into redecorating and upgrading the place at your own leisure.
Thinking creatively about buying your first home can go a long way, and that’s why Vancity offers helpful resources to point you in the right direction. They offer several different types of mortgages and a first-time home buyer’s hub that can answer many of the questions you have.
Published averages were taken from a snapshot of available listings at time of posting.