Real Estate: Playing to the demographics

by Ryan Deluca | July/August 2012

Vancouver is such a fantastic city that the world has taken notice. Consistently ranked one of the top cities to live in, Vancouver has so much to offer a wide variety of people who make up the many demographics residing here. Knowing the demographics of any given neighbourhood can help you buy a home in an area that is perfectly suited to you and your family, or sell your home to the right buyer for a higher price.

Professional research of demographics is an expensive prospect. For the average home purchaser, the easiest way to conduct this research is to simply take notice of who the local retailers are catering to. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars researching the perfect placement of their stores in order to sell the most products. You can take advantage of this research while seeking out your dream home. So in areas like South Main where you will find many cafes, independent art galleries and trendy restaurants and bars, one can deduce by watching those frequenting the businesses that this area is made up primarily of younger professionals, artists and young families.

It is also important to visit an area at differing times of day. Viewing any part of town at just one point of day can give you a false representation of the true demographics of that neighbourhood. Some neighbourhoods like Coal Harbour can be hustling and bustling with professionals during the business hours, but, come evening, can turn into a quiet residentially occupied area catering to an upscale and mature resident.

Retailer’s research is not only a valuable tool for buyers; sellers can take advantage of it as well. Neighbourhoods are constantly changing and evolving. Cities like Port Moody have gone from being a tiny town of single-family homes and mom-and-pop shops catering to families and retirees, to a trendy community of high-rise condos and swanky restaurants that appeal to younger, first-time home owners and new families with one or two young children.

Sellers should understand that just because they purchased a home when one demographic was predominant in the area, does not mean that the same demographic is prevalent today. Using the information obtained by the local retailers to your advantage can help you stage your property to attract the most appropriate potential buyer for your home. This could mean, for instance, changing your interior design from a traditional style—which appealed to an older purchaser—to a more contemporary and modern décor to attract the younger buyers.

It is also a great idea to generate a map of your neighbourhood, listing all the shops, stores, bars, schools, parks and such that would draw more interest to your home. Walk your area and use Google maps to locate and highlight all the things that make your home’s location ideal for a perspective buyer over a home in another part of town. Have the map available for showings and even ask your realtor to include it in the listing photos on MLS so people can view it before booking in to see the home.

In the end, demographics will play a key role in the purchase or sale of a property.  Take advantage of all the research that has already been done and utilize it to get a home in a neighbourhood you know you will love or to sell your home faster for top dollar and to the right buyer.