RE Prices Make Vancouver Unattractive For Doctors

“I am a family doctor. One of my friends from residency (currently in Toronto), took a pass on moving to Vancouver after coming over for a week and seeing first hand the property prices. Just another example of Vancouver losing out on young professionals needed to upkeep our society.”
KFPanada, at VREAA, 12 Oct 2011, 2:24 am

2 responses to “RE Prices Make Vancouver Unattractive For Doctors

  1. I’d like to share my story as someone who was born and raised in Vancouver, lived abroad for ten years, returned, and is now planning to leave permanently.

    I grew up in what is today ground zero for Vancouver’s speculative mania, Point Grey. My dad was a professor at UBC, and my mom a part-time teacher. In real terms, my income is comparable to that of my parents when they bought our house in the 70s. And my expenses are lower: we have one child (so far) instead of four, one car instead of two, etc. And yet the modest house I grew up in would be utterly out of reach for me today.

    The question is, what has changed between a mere two generations? Yes, the economy has grown, and there is more wealth in the world today. But presumably one’s income reflects this growth, so that real estate should be no less affordable than it ever was.

    Locals shrug off this uncomfortable question with the standard wisdom: We have water! And mountains! To which I reply: Vancouver has always had water and mountains. The city’s attractive geography is widely known and has long been priced in to the market. It’s a valid reason for local prices to start out higher than in certain other places, but not for them to go up any faster over time. Some improvements have been made to the city itself, but the fact is Vancouver is pretty much the same place it was 30 years ago.

    What does seem to have changed is our collective mindset. We are living in a dream where Vancouver is the new global hotspot, debt and real estate are the path to riches, and where history doesn’t matter, because “it’s different here”.

    I believe Vancouver is in for a grim wake-up call. By any number of fundamental metrics, local real estate appears overvalued by 60-70%. If there were a way to short the market, I would wager a significant portion of my net worth on this bet.

    The ridiculous cost of housing aside, after living in six cities in four countries, and traveling to countless other locales, I can say with some confidence that Vancouver is not as uniquely wonderful a place as its residents claim it to be.

    None of my three siblings—all hard-working professionals—has chosen to settle in their hometown. My wife and I only moved back because my dad fell ill. We currently rent an eastside bungalow, and intend to relocate internationally next year. I plan to move my business with us. The place we’re going to has its own challenges, but in our experience the overall quality of life is superior.

    P.S. Vreea: hands down the best discussions on RE I’ve come across… keep it up.

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