Michael Geller (‘a Vancouver based architect, planner, real estate consultant and property developer with four decades’ experience in the public, private and institutional sectors‘) in a comment at Frances Bula’s blog, 24 Jun 2011 12:00am. Excerpts -
“I´m currently ´living´in Javea, on the Costa Blanca about 75 minutes from Valencia on another house exchange. …
Last night, my wife and I were discussing just how our house exchange partners are enjoying life in Vancouver, compared to how we are enjoying life here. [In Spain gas pricier; wine cheaper] From our modern villa we can walk to town, buy an incredible variety of fresh fish at a fraction of the price in Vancouver, or when eating out, enjoy a string of seafront restaurants where you can get a nice 3 course meal, with wine for 9 to 12 euros…no worry about drinking and driving… [In Vancouver drive to restaurant for meal at twice the price] Then again, unemployment is 22% in the Valencia region and although there seems to be so much more industrial activity than in Vancouver, the region is spending more than it takes in and is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy. …
I would conclude by saying that one´s enjoyment of Vancouver as a place to live is obviously a function of where and how you live…whether you worry about money…and how satisfying your work/life balance is….
There is no doubt that Vancouver is beautiful to look at, but every time we do a house exchange we realize there are many plusses to life in other cities and countries…New Zealand and Australia both come to mind….But we don´t move because we are ‘established’ in Vancouver… our friends are there… etc.
However, if one could feel free to choose, I think there are many better places to live… where you are not worrying quite so much about whether you will ever be able to buy a home, or how to pay such large mortgage payments… and even whether you can afford to have kids… this one really troubles me whenever I hear it from young Vancouver couples…
I agree with [the opinion] that if you can resign yourself to renting, Vancouver may be a better place to live than for those struggling to buy…although those who bought homes for $100,000 that are now worth $2 million and can sell and move elsewhere and retire on their nest egg… would probably not think this way!
So my advice, start doing house exchanges as a way to enjoy relatively inexpensive holidays, and a way to experience life in other places…go to homelink.org to see what´s available.
I must admit that while I am tempted to move to another place, if only for half the year…I do always come back to Vancouver… but I´m not sure it´s because it´s better… just because it´s where I live and it might be too much effort to change!”
[Earlier comments by Michael Geller were headlined at VREAA 23 Mar 2011.]