‘More buying power’: Co-ownership could make Vancouver real estate more affordable, realtor says
Posted November 5, 2023 12:27 pm.
Last Updated November 8, 2023 4:25 pm.
Buying a property in Vancouver may be too expensive for many people, but one company is finding a creative way to get more families into houses.
Joann Knelsen, a realtor and matchmaker for CoHo BC, specializes in pairing people for collaborative home ownership.
“Nowadays that detached home is sitting at the $2 million mark. Not a lot of people can even think about owning a home, but if you split that up between two groups, it’s feasible,” she said.
A report from The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver suggests residential sales from October are almost 30 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average. Knelsen says the slow sales can be a result of high-interest rates and inflated home prices.
On Saturday, Knelsen took strangers interested in co-ownership on tours of properties, to see if they’re a good fit for the house and each other.
“You have more buying power with more groups and that will help you get into a home,” she said. “If someone doesn’t have all the down payment but has all the credibility, and vice versa, the affordability aspect takes you to the next step.”
CoHo BC says the ideal properties for co-ownership include homes with a laneway house and “Vancouver Specials,” which typically have two legal suites, each equipped with a private entrance, kitchen, and laundry facilities.
Knelsen says the number one question she gets as a matchmaker is “does co-ownership work”?
“We have tested and tried it and it has worked. We have put strangers together. And if you look at any apartment or condo building, those are multiple strangers living within one property and this is the same thing, but on a smaller scale.”
Elizabeth Wilcox, a co-owner of her home, has lived in her 1,400 square foot house for over a year now. Prior to co-owning a home, she and her family lived in a one-bedroom condo. She says purchasing a home wouldn’t have been possible without co-ownership.
“For kids, it’s fantastic,” Wilcox said. “I achieved the dream of ‘let’s get a trampoline.'”
Now her two children have a front and back yard, and a rec room where they enjoy building pillow forts. Wilcox says she’s happy she doesn’t have to worry about strata noise complaints anymore.