Single and Looking (for Real Estate): How Three Solo Buyers Made It Work

Here are some of the ways that single-income earners are getting their feet in Metro Vancouver’s property door. 

In a city where housing prices consistently tower over the incomes of even two-person households, how are singletons navigating Vancouver’s challenging real-estate market? Here are some of the ways that single-income earners in the region are making it work when it comes to getting their feet in the property door. 

The One Who Partnered with Her Sister—And Zeroed in on Foreclosures

“My sister and I decided to co-purchase a property as an investment. This made it a lot easier to save up for a down payment, and, realistically, we knew that it was the only way we could afford to buy a place in Metro Vancouver. Our strategy was to look heavily into foreclosures and find one in a good area that we could renovate as needed. We lived in our apartment for six months together and then I got a roommate, whom I lived with for three years. Now my sister and I are renting it out, which pays the mortgage with a bit of extra income for us. My goal is to eventually own a property in Vancouver, but the market is crazy right now! Hopefully, in a few years, things will change.”—Tanya, 25, owns a two-bedroom apartment in Burnaby

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The One Who Recorded Every Cent Spent

“I had the idea that I wanted to move out sometime after I finished university and got my first job . I just didn’t have a plan in mind. I was looking at how much I was making and thought, ‘I could save at least 30 percent per paycheque, and in a few years, maybe I could have enough for a down payment.’ And then I realized that when you live at home, saving 30 percent is actually pretty easy as long as you’re somewhat diligent. That’s when I started tracking what I was spending my money on, and I made adjustments and those adjustments became habits. I also had to make some compromises: because I work in Vancouver, the idea was to move to Vancouver. But I soon realized I could probably only afford a down payment somewhere else. I withdrew money from my RRSP, too, which wasn’t a gigantic portion but still helped.”—Kevin, 28, owns a one-bedroom condo in New Westminster

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The One Who Relied on Good Old-Fashioned Hard Work—And a Little Help from Starbucks

“For the majority of my early to mid-20s, I worked two or three jobs at a time, one of them as a barista at Starbucks. Fortunately, as an employee you receive amazing benefits—one of them being access to restricted stock units—and, after working for the company for six years, I was able to use them to contribute to my down payment. That, combined with savings, investments, some assistance from my mom and my participation in the BC Home Partnership Program, aided in my ability to purchase a home. I also bought at the right time , before the market went up. If I had waited, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to purchase my current home.”—Alyx, 27, owns a one-bedroom condo in Coquitlam