Analyzing Vancouver Real Estate and Population Growth

Analyzing Vancouver Real Estate and Population Growth

Yesterday we gave an intro on using population projections to help determine buyer/seller flows in Toronto. It’s not a perfect science, but it helps determine fundamental vs artificial demand. We received a request to do the same for Vancouver, from a friendly Toronto developer considering entering the market. So here’s a brief intro on how to get started with analyzing Vancouver’s projected population, and how it can impact real estate buyer flows.

Vancouver Buyers Market Vs Sellers Market

First-Time Buyer Market (FTBM) are the age people are most likely to buy a home, highlighted in purple. Sellers Market (SM) is the age people are most likely to sell their home, highlighted in blue.

Vancouver’s Buyers Market

The First-time buyer market (FTBM) is in purple. This is the age group of people who are most likely to buy their first home, and plays an important part in the market. Without these buyers, middle-aged homeowners won’t have upward mobility, and they won’t be freeing up starter homes. Not everyone in this group will be able to buy, but it gives you an idea of the size of market.

Looking at projections provided by the BC government, the numbers are kind of mixed. In 2016, this pool is 185,937 people. By 2029 this will grow 1.29% to 188,341 people. Not large growth, but any growth is better than none. By 2041, this group falls 11.14% to 167,356 people – not a good sign. 2041 seems like it’s far away, but this is when 2016’s buyers will be making the last of their mortgage payments.

To contrast, the City of Toronto will grow 15%, and 5.6% respectively, over the same periods of time.

Vancouver’s Sellers Market

The sellers market (SM) is in blue. This is the largest group of sellers, and people most likely to exit the market in one way or another. People in this age group are likely to retire to the ‘burbs, move in with their adult kids or assisted care, or go to that farm your dog went to when you were 5 years old. This is another important part of market mechanics.

The population growth in this segment is much stronger. In 2016, we have 97,713 people in the group. The population estimates are predicting this number will soar 45% to 142,280 people. By 2041 we see that number increase another 20%, to 170,900 people. Sure the population continues to grow, but without comparing it to another demographic you can’t really make any predictions.

Net Flow of Vancouver Real Estate Buyers

Now this is the important part, how do these number balance in relation to each other. You could have guessed there’s more people that want to buy than sell right now. In 2016, the segment of people aged for first time buys is 88,224 people larger than the selling segment. In 2029 it declines by 47.8%, leaving 46,061 more potential buyers than sellers. By 2041 that number declines a massive 107% to negative 3,544 people. This means the sellers group will likely be a lot larger than the buying group. This is important because typically more sellers than buyers leads to a buyers market (i.e. lower prices).

Just like I said with Toronto’s numbers, this is a single data point to consider when determining demand. These numbers alone can’t predict pricing, artificial shortages, or a job market. However, it’s one more data point to add to your arsenal when trying to figure out what’s about to go down. We’ll keep you posted as to whether the developer decides to expand to Vancouver.

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