A Greater Vancouver condo now costs nearly as much as a house 4 years ago

Buyers looking to get their hands on a condo in Greater Vancouver will now have to shell out almost as much as they would have to buy a whole house four years ago.

That’s according to data gathered by real estate agency Royal LePage.

The agency’s second-quarter National House Price Composite found a standard condominium in the region now sells for about $692,452.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s (REBGV) statistics for July 2014 pegged the benchmark price of a single-family detached home at $980,000 in Greater Vancouver, and $796,200 for the Lower Mainland.

“We’re almost there,” Royal LePage Sterling general manager Randy Ryalls told CKNW’s The Jill Bennett Show.

“The rise of condo prices has been pretty amazing over the last three or four years. So yeah, today the price of a nice condo in Vancouver is probably about what an entry level house would have been four years ago.”

Partly driving the rise has been the “amazing” appreciation of condos in some areas just outside of Vancouver, such as Coquitlam and Maple Ridge, Ryalls said.

“Some of those areas have three-year gains of over 90 per cent in value,” Ryalls said.

Ryalls attributed the hot growth in condo sales to detached homes becoming simply unaffordable to many buyers, and the entry of Millennials into the housing market.

And he said tougher new mortgage rules have had a marked effect.

“It’s probably the biggest factor. It’s really degraded a person’s buying power probably by about 20 per cent,” Ryalls said.

“So if you could have qualified an entry level house, single family house before, you probably can’t do that now. So that drives people back into the townhouse, condo market.”