Housing Crunch: First time buyers feel pinch of rising prices

A Langley couple are planning their first real estate purchase in a tough market.

No one has been more affected by the surge in housing costs than the young people who haven’t found a toehold in the market yet.

Cassandra Dypchey has been living in Aldergrove in a reasonably priced basement suit with her boyfriend. Now they’re looking to buy their first piece of real estate together – a condo.

Their price point? About $400,000, or lower.

“Hopefully lower,” said Dypchey.

“We want two bedroom, two bathroom, and hopefully at least 1,000 square feet,” Dypchey said.

She admits it’s difficult to find something in that price range that’s a decent size.

The issues facing young buyers now are very different from just five years ago.

In October of 2012, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board stats show that the average price for a house in Langley was about $559,000. Condos were going for an average of $212,000.

READ MORE: Basement suites are in hot demand in Langley

READ MORE: Some abandon the land when looking for housing

Today, the average condo price is $337,000, and single family homes average more than $1 million.

But Dypchey and her boyfriend Travis Smith are looking at possible trade offs for their condo purchase.

“You either have to get an older place, which you might have to renovate,” she said, noting that comes with extra costs. “All the newer places are quite small.”

They’ve already got a mortgage approved, and they have a realtor helping them in the hunt for housing.

The process has its ups and downs.

“It does get a little discouraging, seeing places that are bigger, but over $500,000, and I can’t justify paying that much for an apartment,” Dypchey said.

Having a mortgage in place could save the couple from further costs. A Scotiabank report released Oct. 5 estimated that due to recent interest rate increases, the carrying cost for an average new mortgage will go up by eight per cent in 2018, and another four per cent in 2019.

There may also be more stringent stress tests for uninsured mortgages, which could also increase costs or limit the choices of new buyers.

Like many people who grew up in the Lower Mainland – Dypchey is from South Surrey originally – she was raised in a house and hopes to buy one of her own someday.

“It would be nice to have a yard,” she said.

The couple has a plan for their real estate future.

“We would really only want to be there for a year or two, and then save up and get something bigger,” she said.

She notes that things were different for her parents. About 25 years ago, they bought land and built a house, all for less than $400,000.

“That’s kind of a little saddening, that they could do that,” she noted.

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