We're moving closer and closer towards spring, where real estate market activity traditionally picks up after the winter doldrums. In light of that, Zoocasa published a report on Thursday looking at how much minimum down payments for single-detached homes and condominiums have changed since 2020 in 18 Metro Vancouver markets, including Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby.

Zoocasa used the traditional down payment minimums of 5% on the first $500,000, 10% on the portion up to $999,999, and 20% on purchase prices above $1M. Benchmark prices from each of the 18 markets -- sourced from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board -- were used to calculate the minimum down payments.

According to those numbers, 10 of the 18 markets -- as defined by the two real estate boards, not municipal boundaries -- saw increases in minimum down payments of over $100,000 from February 2020 to February 2023, with Surrey seeing the largest increase, from $74,790 to $278,060, as a result of the benchmark price increasing by about $400,000 during that same period. Surrey also had the distinction of being the only market to see an increase of over $200,000.

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Not too far behind was Bowen Island (+$199,360), Port Coquitlam (+$186,140), North Delta (+$182,080), Maple Ridge (+$176,310), and Pitt Meadows (+$160,970) as the markets that saw increases over $150,000.

On the other end of the spectrum was Vancouver West, which saw minimum down payments increase by just $37,820 -- the smallest increase across the 18 markets -- as a result of benchmark prices remaining steady (and high). Tsawwassen was the only other market to see an increase of less than $50,000.

Zoocasa Metro Vancouver Down Payments - Single-Detached HomesMinimum down payments for single-detached homes in Metro Vancouver, as of Feb. 2023. (Zoocasa)

Interestingly enough, when it comes to the minimum down payments for condominiums, the list of markets that saw the highest increases nearly flips.

Vancouver West still saw the smallest increase, at just $2,830, but Surrey, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge are now also in the bottom five, with increases under $8,000 after seeing some of the highest increases when it comes to single-detached homes. This is likely explained by the characteristics of those markets, which have a lower proportion of condominiums, and therefore a cooler condo market.

At the other end of the list is Burnaby, which saw the highest increase in minimum down payments for condos, from $42,507 in February 2020 to $149,550 in February 2023. Burnaby not only was the lone market to see an increase over $100,000, it was also the only market to see an increase over $50,000, with the $43,000 increase in West Vancouver being the second-highest.

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Again, this aligns with the market characteristics of Burnaby. As developable and redevelopable land in the City of Vancouver has dwindled, high-rise developments have steadily moved out of Vancouver and into Burnaby, which has the third-largest population in British Columbia and shares a border with Vancouver. Both the Brentwood and Metrotown neighbourhoods have seen a constant stream of condominium developments, and it's safe to say that it has played a big role in the benchmark price increasing from $657,067 in 2020 to $745,500 now.

Zoocasa Metro Vancouver Down Payments - Condo ApartmentsMinimum down payments for condos in Metro Vancouver, as of Feb. 2023. (Zoocasa)

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