Just last month we featured local journalist Max Fawcett’s anecdote about friends leaving Vancouver. Max has now announced that he has himself left Vancouver, for Edmonton, and that RE prices are the major reason for his move. Some confident locals will argue that these desertions are meaningless, that Vancouver will be no less attractive a city without these folks, that there is an endless supply of talent and wealth hankering to get in here, so why should we worry?
We personally have a very different take on this, and believe that this almost invisible loss of human capital is one of the most important ways in which the Vancouver RE bubble has hobbled our city. People who would under normal circumstances be playing various active roles in our communities are chased away by preposterous RE prices.
RE has taken centre stage in our social, cultural and economic life, and that is a place that it doesn’t deserve. We look forward to a time when homes in Vancouver are again seen as places to live, rather than investments or speculative vehicles. And we particularly look forward to a time when it is again possible for people like Max and his friends to make Vancouver home. -vreaa
Read Max’s whole article at MaxFawcett.com 13 May 2010. Excerpts below.
“Having been born and (mostly) raised in Vancouver, I’m not ignorant to its charms. But it long ago became obvious to me that the average citizen who lives there pays a high price for those pleasures, one that’s only gone up in recent years.”
“I lay most of the blame for this state of affairs on the overheated real-state market. When the average couple – one without trust funds, inheritances, or seven-figure jobs – can’t afford to buy the average home, there’s a price to be paid. In the short-term, that price will be paid (in a cruel irony) by those very same average couples, who will leverage themselves into knots to get into the market.”
“Those average couples will start to look elsewhere, to the Edmontons, the Saskatoons, and the Halifaxes of the country, places where middle class people – teachers, journalists, nurses, and tradespeople, for example – can afford to live middle class lives. They’ll move to places where they can afford to save money, to have children, and to plan for the future, rather than remaining on the economic hamster wheel of places like Vancouver and Toronto, where wages remain stagnant while prices shoot ever higher.”