What Can a Police Officer Afford to Buy in Vancouver?

by RateHub.ca August 27, 2013 / No Comments

Flickr: petermartinhall

Buying a home on your own isn’t easy – especially in Vancouver, Canada’s most expensive housing market. In this blog series, we’re going to look at the average starting salary of a profession, assume the buyer has no major debts and calculate what they could afford to buy in the city.

In Vancouver, a police officer who qualifies as a 1st class constable (four years of experience) can expect to earn an annual salary of $85,716 – $7,143 per month. Compared to many other professions, this is an excellent starting salary. And if you were in a situation where your student loans were paid off and you had no other major debt repayments to make, you could absolutely look into homeownership. Want to find out what a police officer can afford to buy in Vancouver? Let’s take a look.

After running the numbers through our mortgage affordability calculator, a police officer earning $7,143 per month could afford a home priced at $641,437. This figure is calculated with a 20% down payment ($130,426), an amortization period of 25 years and a 5-year fixed mortgage rate of 3.18%. Your maximum affordability is determined using your income and expenses. Lenders run your numbers through two debt service ratios – the gross debt service ratio (GDS) and the total debt service ratio (TDS) – both of which are explained on our site. For now, know that $641,437 is below the average home price in Vancouver, but it still gives you lots of options to choose from.

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Property #1: Condo
Location: 2520 Manitoba Street
Asking Price: $634,900
Features: 2 Bed, 2 Bath
Approximate Square Footage: 963
Property Taxes: $286
Maintenance Fees: $300.42
Parking Spaces: 1

This beautiful condo is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. If you run the asking price of this condo through our British Columbia mortgage payment calculator, using a 20% down payment ($126,980), a 5-year fixed mortgage rate of 3.18% and an amortization period of 25 years, your monthly mortgage payment would be $2,451. When you add in other monthly costs such as property taxes ($286) and maintenance fees ($300.42), $3,037.42 of your income would go towards housing each month.

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Property #2: Suburban House
Location: 786 Renfrew Street
Asking Price: $629,900
Features: 4 Bed, 2 Bath
Approximate Square Footage: 2,146
Property Taxes: $283
Parking Spaces: 1

If you would prefer to live in a more spacious detached home, this suburban house gives you the option to have more square footage and still live close to the city’s core. Using the calculator once again, enter the asking price, assume a 20% down payment ($125,980), a 5-year fixed mortgage rate of 3.18 percent and an amortization period of 25 years, and your monthly mortgage payment would be $2,432. Factor in the monthly property taxes ($283/month) and you could pay just $2,715 for a detached home that is only a 15-minute commute to downtown Vancouver.

When preparing to buy a home, you often have to balance the features you want with your budget. If you are a professional working downtown and you don’t mind commuting, you can purchase a larger home in the suburbs. But if you work downtown and want to have a short commute to work, it is still possible for a police officer to purchase a downtown condo in Vancouver.