First-time homebuyers looking to save money should carefully weigh their needs and lifestyles against what’s being offered in various municipalities, according to local realtors.

Gary Born of Prudential Sussex Realty said that the further away from downtown Vancouver a house is, the cheaper it is likely to be, but other factors such as a lengthy commute can make it impractical.

“That’s why they’re less expensive — because the commute is going to be long, expensive and frustrating,” he said.

Simon Myara of Sutton Group West Coast Realty said buyers can usually get more for their money the further east they go, in areas such as Burnaby, New Westminster and Langley, for example.

“You’ll see that in Vancouver’s west side, for instance, for around $300,000 you would find a small, one-bedroom apartment,” he said.

“As you go further out, you start going to two bedrooms for $300,000, $320,000. It happens almost right away when you go past certain boundaries,” he added.

Born said Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Maple Ridge are three fairly inexpensive areas, as are Pitt Meadows and Northern Langley, which are growing in popularity due to affordable real estate and developing transit lines.

Sebastian Albrecht of Royal LePage Westside recommended areas such as Fairview, an affordable pocket close to both downtown and Granville Island, and East Vancouver, which is close to the Trans-Canada Highway and rapidly redeveloping.

New Westminster
>> $399,000
>> House
>> Three bedrooms
>> One Bathroom
>> 59 years old
>> Close to shopping, pubs and restaurants

Maple Ridge

>> $419,900
>> House
>> Three bedrooms; 2.5 bathrooms
>> 2,616 square feet
>> Four years old
>> Close to transit

>> $379,000
>> House
>> Four bedrooms; two bathrooms
>> 1,820 square feet
>> 25 years old
>> Close to shopping and amenities

>> $408,000
>> Three bedrooms; 2.5 bathrooms
>> 1,710 square feet
>> 27 years old
>> Close to school and public transit

East Vancouver
>> $259,900
>> Apartment unit
>> One bedroom; one bathroom
>> 19 years old
>> Close to transit and Downtown Vancouver

>> $399,000
>> Townhouse
>> Three bedrooms; two bathrooms
>> 1,661 square feet
>> 17 years old
>> Close to Downtown Ladner and the River Dyke walkway.

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