“I was one of the unlucky 15 million people born into the city that ranks among the bottom 10 in the annual most-livable cities in the world survey. Then, quite magically, later in my life, I find myself among the lucky couple of million that live in the metropolitan region that is consistently on the top of that same list.”

A discussion regarding VREAA at RE Talks led to me observing that there were remarkably few personal stories  from Vancouver RE bulls on the internet. In response, arpakdel (RE Talks, 16 Mar 2010, 6:44 pm) kindly shared their story, which is archived here verbatim. It is an impassioned argument that demand for Vancouver is and will remain overwhelming. -vreaa

“Allright, here is a long one for your archives. It’s a bit of a story – my story, but it may just be right balance you need after posting the bit from that bitter woman that calls Vancouver a “second-rate backwater”:

I think the forces of the universe decided to first curse me and then to bless me. You see, because I was one of the unlucky 15 million people that was born into the city that ranks among the bottom 10 in the annual most-livable cities in the world survey. But then quite magically sometime later in my life, I find myself among the lucky couple of million that live in the metropolitan region that is consistently on the top of that same list – and funny enough, that city where I came from, although smaller in size than Vancouver, is already half the population of Canada.

But I would have settled for less than that. Hell, if I was put in just about any city in this mind-boggling massive country, I would have thanked the heavens and sacrificed the 30 goats I had pledged anyways.

And that may be my problem: I know what a shitty place to live in means first hand, and I shake my head when people living here just don’t get it. They can’t understand why a place like Vancouver will always be covetted by both insiders and outsiders. They don’t get that in our ever shrinking world, that means the demand for it will always be insatiable. For every one person that complains it rains too much here, I can find you 15 million of my country men that will smack in the face for not appreciating what it’s fresh air does to the body and soul. For everyone that will protest the politics of this blissfully free country, I will find you 15 million of my country men that will laugh and scorn how petty it is, because they grew up under the arbiterary whim of some beared ayotallah, and the boot of basij in their face. And for every one person that complains about the high-prices here and goes on and on about affordability and rental value analysis, the same 15 million will tell you the streets of their capital are littered with brilliant young minds with PhD’s in arm who can’t find jobs to pay half their rents and instead roam the streets each evening like mindless zombies, each day suicide looking more and more like a good vacation – and that is nothing to say of the 99% of the rest of young people who were not enough academic prodigies to even be able to get a seat in the extremely competetive universities or colleges.

But forget about that 15 million. The country is home to 70 million people. A small percent of that country is rich enough to buy their way into Canada. And what do you think they will do? They will buy homes. They will buy homes for themselves. And they will buy homes for their children. The other small percent will fight their way to Canada with teeth and nails…. and what will they do? Yes, they will buy homes, and they will buy them at market value. Your ROI, rental-value, forgone-oppurtunity analysis be fu**kin damned.

But forget about the country of 70 million people. Can you guess how many of the 4 billion in asia will want to live in a place like Vancouver? By 2020 the Vancouver region’s population is estimate to grow to 3 million. Some will move to Coquitlam, some will move to Surrey. They are coming, and they are not listening to your outcries that the prices for those “armpit sides of the city” are stupid stupid and that they are wrong for buying. While you scream, they will buy.

And you know what that means for you my dear friend? it will means increased demand everywhere.

Where people want to live and play, demand for real estate will always be there. And Vancouver is as prime as it gets. The formula that makes amazing is simple: take a country blessed with political freedom and economic riches, make a beautiful urban oasis along side a rugged coastal wonder, sprinkle it with mild weather, and voila. You have hit gold. Gold baby gold.”

13 responses to ““I was one of the unlucky 15 million people born into the city that ranks among the bottom 10 in the annual most-livable cities in the world survey. Then, quite magically, later in my life, I find myself among the lucky couple of million that live in the metropolitan region that is consistently on the top of that same list.”

  1. Fine speech but it doesn’t change the economic fundamentals. People with lots of money live very well in Asia. People with no money can’t leave and buy here. There will alway be some coming from all over the world but they will not be able to keep prices up.

  2. I’m sorry, but this story is obviously fabricated.

  3. Frank – I agree with you.

  4. I sincerely hope that they do come for the sake of the owners on the west side. Last night on the MLS there were 360 homes for sale with an asking price of over 2 million. And that was only looking west of Granville.
    I was born here, went to school, and have a good stable gov’t job in an essential sevice. My husband and I qualify for 400k if we max out at low interest rates…and he is likewise employed… if we never have kids and put every penny we earn into our mortgage for the next ten years we cna have it paid off…then what? we sell our starter home/condo and buy a 800k home? Spend the next ten years after that paying it off…the question is…since this is the obvious progression for the average working family, given that nobody is going to loan us two million straight up…where are the jobs in this city that pay you enough money to qualify for that kind of mortgage?
    I hope that when this influx of people come they bring cash…and lots of it…because they not only will need the cash to cover the overvalued purchase prices of whatever home they buy…but they will also need money to pay taxes and food and utilities all of which will not be able to be covered by whatever minimum wage job they manage to land. You do the math…

  5. So let me summarize: “endless pool of immigrants who will never rent”. There. That didn’t take too many words.

  6. “…not only will need the cash to cover the overvalued purchase prices of whatever home they buy…”

    oh they got cash suga pie. they got cash. don’t worry about that.

    again the reality of the market doesn’t care that you feel it is unfair that you and your husband can’t afford a house on the west side.

    the market has no morals and conscious, and while it is unfortunate we all can’t afford what we want in Vancouver, all the best wishing that things should be different won’t matter.

    You want something nice in Vancouver. The catch is so does everyone else. You can buy acres of land for dollars somewhere in unlivable tundras of Manotiba. The catch is, no one wants to live there.

    It’s time you got that.

  7. Frank/Glen/(&Roberty) ->
    VREAA welcomes your comments, but please use one handle and please try not to agree with yourself too often.
    Now, to address the substance of your concern: I don’t think this story is fabricated. It comes from a regular poster at RE Talks, and is consistent with their ongoing stated outlook and position on Vancouver RE.
    I have archived it because it is representative of one aspect of the ‘overwhelming demand’ argument for bullishness in RE.
    Note that it offers no metrics whatsoever, but is rather driven by an emotional gestalt based on some experience.

  8. It’s impassioned, and I can definitely see the point. It’s an important data point in describing one reason we’re so emotional on housing.

    Only, immigrants are people too – and not all of them are going to pay so much more in money and time for the premium to live in something eventually-owned in Surrey when it is cheaper and allows for more diversification to rent “something nice” in Vancouver proper. Demand only outstrips supply in the real estate market. There are lots of places to rent.

  9. (…What I mean is that immigrants are not a monolithic group, and realize it might not read that way to everyone. What I mean with “immigrants are people too” is that you cannot ascribe any helpful narrative to every immigrant family – there are certainly similarities in experience in relocating, but everyone really does have an individual story. In a bubble, everyone has a justification that’s emotional, but those emotional justifications are really just people reflecting the bubble. Rather than “it’s different here”, it’s like saying “we’re different here”.

    And it’s just not true. If you’re participating in a housing asset bubble, you’re going through the same thing every other community who just went through the same bubble went through. Group hysteria around housing ownership regardless of whether or not it makes sense.)

  10. Cities on the west coast with mild weather = Seattle, Portland, San Fran, San Diego.

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  12. Why anyone would want to silence you is beyond me.

  13. First – people from other countries can’t just move to Vancouver. They need to go through a fairly time-consuming application process. And if they’re here it’s because we need them.

    Second – many people (most people in fact) value family and friends as highly as a nice city with mountains and ocean to live in. It’s not easy to leave lifelong friends and family to go somewhere new where you have no support network.

    Third – locals with their insider knowledge, better job prospects and all that will always have the upper hand when it comes to buying or renting somewhere nice in their own city.

    Fourth – it’s not that easy to come to Canada and find a good job. Many people come here with great qualifications and experience and end up doing jobs they are vastly overqualified for. Ask your next cab driver what his real occupation used to be if you don’t believe me.

    Fifth – people who have tons of money to just drop on a house in a new city have other options. They can have their pick of the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK…

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