My partner and I plan to have kids eventually so having more space is a priority for us. That’s why this summer I blogged about buying a bigger home. I had a six-figure downpayment ready to go from selling my farmland. And mortgage rates fell to all time lows. It felt like the right time to buy a house together.
Well in September I sold some stocks and purchased a modest house in the suburbs. I negotiated the price down to less than the government assessed value and got a 1.9% interest rate mortgage from Scotiabank.
It’s a 2 story house with a separate entrance to a rental suite – which can help us with the ~$4,000 mortgage payment. The 2400 sq.ft. of living space insures enough room to raise a future family. 🙂
In October I moved in with my fiancé, and we got married in our new house! Rather than deciding on a fixed wedding budget we used a minimalistic approach instead. What does this mean? We simply decided on what’s important to have for the wedding and then found cost effective ways to get it all done. 🙂 In the end we spent less than I expected. But it probably wasn’t as frugal as this couple’s wedding.
Here’s what we did to save money.
- The wedding was at home so we didn’t pay for a venue.
- We purchased/rented all the flowers and decor from Dollarama and a party rental store. ($400)
- To save money on catering we cooked all the food ourselves, except the $150 wedding cake.
- We only invited 8 guests.
- I wore a black suit and the bride wore a formal white dress. We already owned both.
- A YouTube playlist of wedding music streamed on our TV so we didn’t need a live band.
Other expenses include an officiant, a photographer, and a hair/makeup artist. The total cost of the wedding was roughly $2,000. I know. I’m such a big spender. 😋
Overall I think the wedding was a success. It got a little emotional at times. Even the cake was in tiers. 😄
Recent market events
We were lucky to find a decent home quickly. According to the Real Estate association, the latest numbers show that the country’s overall home prices in November climbed 11.6% year over year. I had a feeling this would happen 6 months ago.
“We will probably see a flat real estate market over the next few months followed by increasing prices near the end of the year.” ~Liquid – The future of the real estate market June 2020.
It’s a good thing I followed my gut and started house searching early.
Is it too late now to get into the real estate market? The risk of a price correction is greater now than last year.
But waiting on the sidelines to see if prices will drop this winter may not be a good idea. The current data leads me to believe that this upward trend will continue. By the fall of next year home prices on average will probably be 5% to 8% higher than they are now. This is all speculation of course. A lot will depend on specific locations and how quickly people receive the vaccine.
It’s easy to assume that the drop in immigration due to COVID will reduce demand for housing. But I think that’s wrong. Fewer people coming in still means we’re growing in population. It’s not like Canadians are leaving the country in droves.
What’s the alternative?
It’s hard to believe this is my third property purchased in the Greater Vancouver area. Altogether my current real estate exposure is over $2,000,000. Haha. Does that seem excessive?
But where else should I put my savings?
- In cash and let inflation slowly eat it away?
- In fixed income where bonds are paying 1% interest?
- Or in the stock market where valuations are at record highs?
It seems that real estate in a politically stable country is still one of the best places to park your money. At least for now. 😉
Random Useless Fact:
Sometimes you have to make the best of what you’re given.