Vancouver resident Darren Kaushal was 24 when he made his first property purchase in 2009.
He had been working since he was a teen, saving money while staying with his parents.
“Finally, I got to a place where I was graduating from university and I was like, ‘Okay, what’s the next step?’ ” Kaushal recalls during a phone interview with the Georgia Straight. “I had a bunch of money, and it was like, okay, I could do a few things: I could go travelling for a little bit; I could try and buy a nice car; or I could invest or purchase property.”
Kaushal chose to buy a condo in Kitsilano, a one-bedroom with den.
“I always knew that I wanted to own property in Vancouver,” he said. “My family is here and I was born here.”
Kaushal, now 33, recently made his third property purchase. On March 2 this year, he got the keys to a new condo in downtown Vancouver.
Kaushal, who works as a restaurant manager, related that buying a home at an early age has been rewarding in many ways. “It forced me to grow up,” he said.
In addition to taking on the responsibilities of a homeowner, Kaushal also learned how to leverage the value of his property. He sold his Kitsilano condo in 2015 at an “incredible price” and used the proceeds to buy a bigger place, a two-bedroom and two-bath condo in the Olympic Village.
After a year, he realized that he had too much space and decided that a smaller condo would work better for his needs as a single person.
He sold his Olympic Village condo in 2017 and bought his third one, another one-bedroom plus den, into which he recently moved.
Kaushal noted that in the four transactions he made after his first purchase in 2009, he was able to achieve three things: reduce his monthly mortgage payments, pull some of his equity to invest elsewhere, and retain ownership of a home.
In these four deals, Kaushal relied on one realtor, Jay McInnes.
“Jay’s younger brother is one of my best friends,” Kaushal said about McInnes. “And all three of us attended the same high school. Jay has been an invaluable source. Even though we already had an established personal relationship, Jay has maintained an incredible sense of professionalism when it comes to doing business.”
According to Kaushal, one thing stands out for him from his experience in the real-estate market.
“Homeownership is not for everyone, and that’s okay,” Kaushal said. “But I think…understanding what’s going on in the market and realizing if that’s something you really want, you can do it.”
He knows that it’s difficult for many young people to buy a home in an expensive city like Vancouver, but he also believes that it’s not unattainable.
“I think people are too worried about, you know, making more money and not really realizing how much they have and knowing where it’s going,” Kaushal said.
Kaushal pays attention not only to the market but also to the housing policies of all levels of government.
He mentioned the federal government’s tightening of mortgage regulations. This made it harder for people to get financing for a house purchase. According to him, governments should work to better help homebuyers put together a down payment, which he said is a big hurdle for many.
In January 2017, the B.C. Liberal government opened applications for a program to provide first-time home buyers interest-free down-payment loans of up to $37,500, or up to five percent of the purchase price of a home listed at $750,000 or less.
The B.C. NDP government is ending the program on March 31 this year.
“The current market is pretty nuts,” Kaushal said. “But it has been that way for quite some time and I don’t see any drastic changes happening anytime soon.”