Vancouver boomers sitting on $163 billion of mortgage-free property

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Millennials and Generation Xers can look forward to $163.4 billion worth of mortgage-free property in Metro Vancouver real estate as the Baby Boomer Generation looks to downsize, said Bob Rennie in his annual address.

Owner and founder of the largest real estate marketing firm in Vancouver, the ‘condo king’ Rennie spoke at the annual Urban Development Institute general meeting to a crowd of almost 1,000 developers, politicians and media about the future of Vancouver’s real estate.

Rennie said that as the over-55 demographic looks to downsize to smaller homes that priorities like easy walking, transit accessibility and proximity to basic necessities like groceries and pharmacies will be at the top of baby boomers lists.

“Now, more than ever, people want to be able to walk to everything,” said Rennie.

To fill those needs, Rennie advised developers to look to circling “energy centre” hubs like Metrotown, Richmond Centre and Brentwood Town Centre as examples for condo and townhouse development sites as they’re “the most undersupplied in the market.”

The appeal of the townhouse lends itself equally to both the downsizing boomer and the first-time buying couple looking to start a family but not wanting to purchase a home. 

For almost 40 per cent of those first-time buyers, Rennie says that they are backed up by boomer money from grandparents or parents buoyed by boomer inheritances totalling almost a trillion dollars according to reports filed in March by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. This brings up concerns for the remaining 60+ per cent who have to flounder forward into the real estate market unaided by the boomer population’s aging funds. 

During his keynote which capped off at just over an hour in length, Rennie listed off a few awe-worthy statistics Including: a third of homes in Greater Vancouver have more bedrooms in the home than people as parents remain in empty nests, 43 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds in Vancouver are homeowners and 26 per cent of Vancouverites under 25 years old own a home.

Diverging from his number-heavy speech, Rennie took a few touchy tangents. Including an opportunity to market the unsold condo units in the Olympic Village, a project he has been marketer for throughout the extensive media coverage on its financial challenges over the years.

“There were predictions that there would be hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debt,” said Rennie. “A few industry leaders and UDI members stood up and held our hand — and then there were a few, just a handful, that kept insisting on an autopsy while the patient was still breathing,” said Rennie. “Well, here we are and the debt is paid off and the city has $70 million. Of course, this doesn’t recover the entire land sale; however, the taxpayer is way better off than some of the possible outcomes.”

Rennie also took issue with environmentalist David Suzuki, who made remarks in a 2013 interview with French newspaper L’Express that “Canada was full” and that its immigration policy — increasing population to support economic growth — was “disgusting.”

Rennie responsed, “Fortunately, Mr. Suzuki, we all have friends whose lives are a better place because they moved here.”

Suzuki’s name also got brought up when Rennie touched on the all-Mandarin mailer his marketing company, Rennie Marketing Systems, sent out by accident to residents in West Point Grey highlighting a project of his near UBC.

“It sparked racist responses and touched the nerves of ignorance—it brought out stereotypical reactions that fuel the David Suzukis of the world.”

Watch Bob Rennie’s full keynote speech here:

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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