Figure 1: the approximate setting of a 1 bedroom condo in Toronto for my customers between 2016-2017
The age old question of "is it better to rent or to buy" has been usually decided given changes in our lives. For some it may be that they are expecting a family, or for others they have relocated to a new area.
Before the sudden take-off of Toronto housing prices in 2016, many people were complacent to buy and now find themselves in a rent trap where they can't seem to save the down payment required for new house prices, yet are struggling to even keep up with the new higher rent prices as well.
The main reason why I decided not to move back to Hong Kong with my family after university was that I noticed the housing prices in Hong Kong (and other major cities like Vancouver, SF, NY) were so high that I may not even be able to purchase a home in my lifetime, or rent somewhere that is half decent before turning the age of 30. Mind you, that would be the experience of a University of Toronto B.com & Waseda University graduate with a full-time (likely bank) job.
The decision was easy when I figured out the Toronto market, where you could work for 5 years and purchase a property every few years. These properties as well were new and beautiful condos, with the most amazing granite counter top finishes, marble flooring toilets! WOW. The end game for me was to buy 4 properties as fast as possible and retire through living off rent money.
The bottom line was that the market is slow to respond and you can always take advantage of it if you are proactive. The market doesn't benefit procrastinators, and you will find there are many millionaires out there that are lazy, but are willing to spend the 1 hour to run the calculations that people don't like doing, and in return can sit back for the rest of the year rather than work a full time job. Trust me as they are the kind of clients and friends that I see all the time.
If you are lazy, try the 5 second rule - just try to complete the task out of your comfort zone before you can count backwards from 5. Afterall, I became a Real Estate Agent all within the decision of 5 seconds as well.