If she bought it in 1990 also a time of similar affordability as present, 5 years later she likely would have had zero equity left in the property (loan to value would have been close to 100%), she would have to wait 12 years to sell it at breakeven. That's after BoC lowered rates and increased borrowing power on the order of 55%.
1989/1990 feels similar to where we are in the RE cycle, we won't be able to avoid a period of deleveraging at some point in the near future. Hopefully we don't face a recession as bad as we did in the 90s.
If she bought in 1996, affordability was really really high, prices were too cheap, people were hesitant to buy after 7 years of declining prices. But that was the best time to buy, when affordability was near historic highs, so she would have timed her purchase perfectly.
Now those who think even with hindsite 1990 was a good time to buy anyway, I would rather not have been swimming in debt with no way out for 7 to 13 years. I would not have wanted to be closing on new construction that i bought years before at higher prices, etc. Many people lost money and their homes. Also 1990 to April 2017 highs BoC interest rate dropped from the 15% range to 0.5%....will that be repeated in the future...not likely, even with negative rates we wouldn't be able to increase borrowing power anywhere near what they could in the 90s.
There are many headwinds to RE presently, the cycle is long in the tooth, most properties are priced for perfection. I'm hesitant to deploy new capital in the current market, it wouldnt take much for all that debt out there to become a heavy burden. I'd rather wait, real estate is a great investment but only at the right price.