Several articles about the future of the BC real estate market peaked my interest this month. These articles were positive about the long-term future of BC real estate.
The first article, found in Ozzie Jurock's Insider newsletter, cites a study written by the Urban Land Institute based in Washington, D.C.: Global Demographics 2009: Shaping Real Estate’s Future. The study looks at the effects of population, urbanization and aging on real estate. According to the study, the echo baby boom generation (born early to mid-80's) will be getting into the property game in the next two decades. This generation is as large (or larger) a segment of the population than the baby boomers were and will have a huge impact on property values in the coming years. The echo generation getting into the property game, combined with the downsizing of the aging baby boomers, should result in increased pressure on the urban condo and townhome market. According to the report, the demand for suburban mansions and subdivisions will be overtaken by demand for smaller homes and condos that are in walkable communities, close to amenities and jobs. The report named Canada as one of the countries with "attractive real estate investment and development prospects once the recession subsides," and mentions western Canada as an area of promise.
On the recreational front, both Royal LePage and RE/MAX released reports on the current trends in Canada. Royal LePage reports that 64% of Canadians still view recreational property as a good long term investment and 55% of us would be willing to make compromises in order to attain the goal of owning a cottage (ie. rent it out, share with other families, etc...). The top three desires of potential cottage owners in BC? Peace and quiet, access to utilities and four-season use. RE/MAX, meanwhile, cites the importance of Gen X(30-45yrs old) in the current recreational property market. Their Youtube video states that in over 74% of rec areas across the country, this demographic is currently driving the market. According to RE/MAX , these buyers are looking for good value and opportunity (ie. my interpretation "deals"). I concur with this as we have been noticing very value driven buyers on the site in the last 6 months.
So overall, it seems that well-chosen and priced B.C. real estate is a solid investment for the long-term. According to the above reports, whether you are looking to invest in an urban condo, townhome or a quiet lakeside retreat, there should be plenty of demand for both once the recession lets up. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for deals (next fall/winter...?).