The federal government’s new First-Time Home Buyer’s Incentive, an interest-free loan, limits total borrowing for the home purchase at $480,000. This has sparked criticism that few homes can be purchased for that amount in the priciest cities where help is most needed, such as Metro Vancouver and Victoria.
However, a quick search of current listings (March 21, 2019) shows there are over 2,000 resale home listings in the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley board regions under $480K.
That wide catchment includes inexpensive areas such as Mission, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, but there are 98 such listings in Vancouver alone, and hundreds in great starter-home areas like Surrey, Langley and New Westminster. In the Greater Victoria area, there are around 300 resale homes currently available for that price or less.
We took a closer look to see exactly what first-time buyers could get their hands on for $480,000, across Metro Vancouver and in Victoria.
$475,000, one-bed, one-bath, 677-square-foot condo
This is an immaculately presented, one-bed unit in a Whistler-style complex close to Vancouver's new River District. This suite offers an open-concept layout with gas fireplace, balcony, large bedroom with custom California closet, updated kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, designer lighting, slate flooring in kitchen and bathroom, new laminate flooring, stainless-steel appliances, custom-built pantry, and in-suite. It also comes with one parking spot and a storage space. Up to two pets are allowed, but rentals are currently maxed out.
$479,000, one-bed, one-bath, 789-square-foot condo
In this waterside building with unobstructed Fraser River views, this is a bright, sunny, top-floor unit with two patios overlooking the Quay. This home has high ceilings and a functional open-concept layout, and was recently renovated in 2016 with updated appliances. This move-in-ready home is a few minutes’ walk to the SkyTrain station and shopping, with the river on the doorstep.
$479,900, two-bed, two-bath, 1,054-square-foot townhouse
In the seven-year-old Sun72 complex in Surrey is this two-bed-plus-den townhouse. There’s an open-concept living room with electric fireplace and laminate floors, kitchen with stainless-steel appliances and sliding doors leading to a deck. Upstairs has a master bedroom with vaulted ceiling, full bathroom with double sinks and generous second bedroom. The basement has a powder room and den or office space, plus a single garage and a parking pad for an extra vehicle. The complex has low strata fees and is lose to schools, parks and shopping.
$479,900, two-bed, two-bath, 1,402-square-foot townhouse
This is a large, two-level, corner unit townhome in Hunter's Glen, located in desirable Walnut Grove in Langley. The main floor is a great room with a large kitchen, dining and living room combined. There is a large full bath on the main floor along with a private balcony facing the greenbelt. Downstairs are two generous bedrooms that both walk out to the lower-level patio, plus another full bathroom, laundry room and storage. The complex is short walking distance to schools, parks, recreation centre and shopping.
$479,900, one-bed, one-bath, 535-square-foot condo
This is a ground-level condo in the waterfront “Mermaid Wharf" building in the heart of downtown Victoria, just moments’ walk to shopping, restaurants and much more. This cozy unit has an open plan with patio doors leading to a large private patio. Inside there is a gas fireplace, a built-in bed with storage drawers and in suite laundry. All appliances and furniture are included. The common rooftop terrace overlooks the Inner Harbour and has a gas BBQ. Pets, and long- and short-term rentals are allowed. The unit comes with underground parking and a separate storage locker for personal belongings, plus a kayak storage system in the common area of the secured parkade.