HOUSING PRICES

Peter Simpson, retiring CEO of the Greater Vancouver Homebuilders' Association wants to offer reassurance to new Lower Mainland homeowners worried about the shrinking value of their houses.

Don't be dazzled or depressed by price changes. They go down, then they recover and rise over time, he says.

It's natural for first-time owners to see the latest real-estate statistics and fret about shifting values.

In his early 20's Simpson sold his Corvette convertible to help scrape together a $10,000 down payment on a $38,500 house in Ontario. He was earning $138 a week..."I woke up for three nights in a cold sweat wondering what the heck I had done," he says. "It worked out. It always does work out. The sun comes up the next day."

The association predicts moderate price drops in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Simpson believes people only hurt themselves if they become obsessed with tracking week-by-week house price changes.

"They should not consider their home and its value as a pork belly future," he says. "That causes a lot people angst."

"Live in it, enjoy it and if you have to move somewhere else, sell it and move on."

If you must worry about something, worry about the resistance from some people to letting their neighbourhoods evolve into a mix of single and multi-family housing, Simpson says.

Densification is the key to providing affordable housing along arterial and even up side streets in existing neighbourhoods.Single-family homeowners who oppose multi-family housing in their neighbourhood should ask themselves two questions, he says: Where will their children live who can't afford their neighbourhood? And where will aging homeowners go when they can't climb the stairs of their current house but want to continue living nearby?

"People who want to keep their neighbourhoods exactly as they are should be careful what they wish for. They may not be able to live in their house as long as they anticipate." 

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