“I bought one of Jack Wood’s Castle Houses on the westside in 2000. It was a sweet little place, a little down on its luck, but with good bones and it represented to me part of Vancouver’s heritage. We put time and money in it and I think we made it shine again, at least the neighbours seemed pleased.
We had every intention of staying there well into our golden years, but then we watched our ‘hood and the city change. Property prices began their unprecedented ramp up. Small and medium sized businesses were forced out as developers put up tall condo towers, and replaced those small service or manufacturing facilities with street level bubble tea shops and acrylic gel nail salons. And, those towers blocked the view of the ocean and mountains I had taken for granted, and a big part of what was so special about Vancouver. Closer to home, sweet little houses stopped getting rehabbed, instead knocked down, replaced by the ubiquitous McMansion that was all house, no property, and no soul. Then the edicts started coming down about embracing this brave new world that was The Best Place on Earth.
My 6 km commute from downtown became 45 minutes – on a good day. A “good day”also meant no one flashed you the bird.
So a little more than a year ago, 5 Asian developers bid on my property. They were more than happy to let me triple my money, because all of them planned on knocking my house down because they were sure they could make even more, because 2000 sq ft is not big enough to warehouse people’s stuff.
I’m over on the island now. Bought acreage. My propety taxes are less than a tenth of what that city lot cost me. There’s nothing I have to do without over here, we have all the shops & services – even the internet -and I’ve got the ocean and mountain views back – with lakes thrown in. This place cost less than our 2000 Vancouver purchase, even after the reno’s I did; but, it’s not all about the money – I knew where we moved to was physical beautiful, what I hadn’t realized was how kind, thoughtful and inspiring the people are here. That I wasn’t expecting. When one of our vehicles repeatedly crapped out (it had been stolen from front of our Vancouver place and apparently used in a crime so the police kept it for 6 weeks while they dusted) people here stopped to help, the garage ran taxi for us. When they held their charity auction in December, bids on all the donated products and services were all for greater than the declared value, on everything, because “it was for charity”. We have had to relearn the art of “chatting” as the folk here partake of this quaint practice. I was born & raised in Vancouver, but its amazing to experience life away from there.
The agent that sold our house in Vancouver recently sent me a picture of what’s going up on the property (it’s still not finished) – yup, in the 4000 – 5000 sq ft range. It was sad for me to see that the old plum tree planted by the first family that lived in my old house was in the way of the triple garage, or maybe its a laneway house, in the back yard, and it’s been knocked down, too.
I found this site a few months back. I had thought I was the only one thinking “this can’tbe sustained” and finally decided to google ‘Vancouver Bubble’. I’m writing for the first time here, because of the differing sites I’ve been looking at, this seems to be the only one where you folks don’t get nasty and attack differing views. So that’s my anecodote.
For what its worth, we are professionals, qualifying as 1%’s. Funny, it never felt that way over there.”
- ‘Relaxed & Happy Islander’, at VREAA, 14 Apr 2012 5:39pm and thereafter.