Help For First-Time Home Buyers: 2 Ways To Locate Affordable Canadian Property

To score a home with an affordable mortgage, you have to think outside the real estate bubble. Be one step ahead of the game by exploring deals where conditions are more favorable.

Two interesting places to search for potential properties in Canada are:

Areas with pockets of overbuilding

Look for places where builders have put up too many units for the market to bear. Developers often try to make the most out of property space where there is high demand for housing, but their short-sighted goals of maximizing their returns have created a glut of smaller new condo units in hot cities like Vancouver.

Younger professionals or retired couples may desire the small condo style of living experience, but families with small children and pets are eventually going to look for larger digs and space for a lawn. Foreign investors tend to look for luxury and high-end properties for investment, so that leaves a lot of tiny single-family condos sitting empty.

You may be able to find good deals on small condos as developers and agents try to unload these slower-moving units. If you know a condo has been sitting on the market for a long time, you should make a low ball offer and see what happens. The developer/owner may be willing to cut their losses. You can live in the condo now, and rent or sell it later if you need more space. Search out other areas where there are overbuilt or overvalued homes to find hidden deals.

Sectors in weakened conditions

The slump in oil production in Calgary has also led to a decline in home prices in the hardest-hit areas including Saskatoon, Edmonton and Regina. If these are areas you've considered for your Canadian home purchase, you can find better deals than you'll find in other cities.

If you have your heart set on a certain city, pay attention to the economic, social and crime news from the town to find out which areas may be undergoing transition, opening up to development or fighting industrial blight. Temporary issues in neighborhoods often turn off potential buyers, but if said issues won't personally affect your enjoyment of a property, there's no reason why you shouldn't buy now and wait for troubles to be resolved.

Of course, you don't want to raise kids next to a toxic waste dump or a prison, but many localized issues are far less dire. In the case of higher crime areas, check out what the local law enforcement agencies are doing about dangerous conditions. If there is a temporary uptick in crime in a given area, but it looks like local government is addressing the issue and responding competently (and the long-term neighbors are committed to cleaning up their corner of the city) a home in such a community can be a solid investment.

Make a list of your top ten requirements in a home, with the top choices being things that can't be changed, like location or home architecture. At the bottom of your top ten list will hopefully be those things that can be altered later, like the kitchen appliance colours or backyard landscaping.

As long as the most vital conditions on the list are met you've found a property you can work with, and you can get your foot over the sometimes daunting real estate threshold. For more ideas about affordable real estate in Canada, contact a real estate professional like one from Prudential Property Management Ltd. who is familiar with the areas where you plan to purchase property.


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