This really is an age old question; it’s one which comes around again and again and one which every man and his dog has a strong view on. It doesn’t matter whether the market is rising or falling (or even if it’s just perceived to be going either way); the right time to buy is a hotly discussed topic.
If you ask the average person or an experienced Vancouver realtor they will have a real aversion to buying during what is seen as the peak of the market or even just a point immediately before a slight drop in prices. In reality, there really isn’t anything to fear about when you buy, as the “peak” of a market is really just an expression of variation at a moment in time. Prices will always fluctuate, but the longer term trend will always be a an upward one; so if you are thinking about staying in the house you’ve bought for any decent length of time, the odds are that you’ll have more than enough time to recoup any temporary “losses” in value.
The only buyers who really need to pay close attention to the house value trends are those looking to flip the property and sell quickly. For everyone else, if you keep your home for any reasonable length of time, the market will adjust and compensate and you’ll end up in positive equity.
That said Vancouver is on the cusp of a huge influx of people; some one million people by 2050 as a result of political and climate migration. So whilst the prices will eventually always level out higher, now is certainly a good time to buy. Demand for properties by the time 2050 comes around will be so high that your $600k condo that you buy today will be worth a colossal amount by 2050.
So if you have the capital and cash flow to invest in a property (either to live in or rent out) now really is a good time to buy and this is less about the current lower prices and more about the population increase factors. Prices will always catch up, but with the demographic changes we’ve highlighted, the only way is seriously up in our opinion.