Cars and other deals tempt B.C. home buyers
Published Tuesday, December 9, 2008 10:16PM PST
While the Bank of Canada lowered its key interest rates to 1.5 per cent, the lowest in half a century, there are other ways British Columbians are being to tempted to borrow from the banks and splash out on a property.
When Yuri Bojorquez first came to Canada six years ago, her goal was to buy a house. Now a new homeowner, she says her shrinking RRSP accounts drove her into the housing market.
"I was losing a lot of money. I was saving precisely to get a place. So now was the time to do it before my money kept going down," she said.
It didn't hurt that the condo she had her eye on dropped $50,000, making it affordable for her.
"With the economy being so flaky, it was a good opportunity to just go for it."
Realtor Mario Felicella of Stella Vancouver has been selling off leftover units in one development and he has had to get creative.
"We thought it was a great idea and a catchy slogan. Buy a condo, get a Honda. It was well received in the marketplace and generated a lot of sales," he said.
On top of the car, a 1,000 sq-ft. penthouse he is trying to sell in Vancouver has dropped from $899,000 to $650,000.
It's a huge drop but Felicella says it's necessary.
"In previous years, people weren't really thinking outside the box. Now we have to create a new box to get people in the door and offer a product they feel is valuable."
Despite the great deals out there potential buyers aren't knocking down mortgage broker Shaun Zipursky's door.
"A few months ago when banks were offering prime -0.6 or -1 per cent it was a deal.
"What the banks were pricing at previously has kind of come back to hit them a bit. That's why they are not passing on the same kind of discount they were a year ago to the current consumer."
Zipursky says people enjoying variable rates right now should keep on enjoying them, and think about increasing their payment so it's not such a shock to them when the prime rate increases again.
And he adds that some banks are offering a fixed at 4.8 per cent mortgage over 5 years. Another has rates at 4.99 per cent or some lenders in the low 5s.
There could be more to come. The central bank will look at rates and inflation again at the end of January, just before the federal government releases its budget.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Leah Hendry