Leaving – “We have decided to give up on Vancouver.”

SDBound at vancouvercondo.info February 9th, 2011 at 11:18 am“After scrimping and saving for a downpayment for the past 5 years – we are of the traditional 20pct downpayment 25 year mortgage mentality – only to have house prices run up faster than we could save we have decided to give up on Vancouver. Don’t get me wrong the city is wonderful but the cost of living and opportunities are not here for the average or even above average blue/white/grey collar working class.
When we went look at houses every one has mortgage helpers and basement suites. To me that’s not right. Single family detached houses turning into tri-plexes and 4-plexes. That is what is driving up house prices. City council should approve more multifamily and higher density house all over the city.
For the past while I been working with a recruitment firm and last night I accepted a job in San Diego. The salary is about 10pct higher with health plan and 2 weeks of paid vacation. We will rent first and then later look to buy a house for around 320k. With the lower living costs, my wife can afford to stay home with the kids. My parents and inlaws will come visit us every few months and will probably stay a few weeks at a time especially in the winter.
Some pundits will say good riddance and maybe that we are complainers and so forth. This is not a pity attention getting post. I do this to say there are options out there. Why take the narrow view to say this is the only nice place to live – the world is a big place. If Vancouver wants to be a rich man playground so be it.”

Joshua at vancouvercondo.info February 9th, 2011 at 11:31 am“Good for you! Its funny, my wife and I have been having this exact conversation. I was recently in San Diego for a conference – it was November, and I had some time to stroll around on the beaches in my short sleeves, gorgeous and sunny. When I got home, we pulled up some real estate pages and marveled at what we could buy for $400K. She is pregnant, and it sure would be nice if she could stay home with the kids, while I work, and still have more money every month…”

Patiently Waiting at vancouvercondo.info February 9th, 2011 at 11:47 am“My wife and I are discussing Ontario. She has lots of family there, and I have many old friends from University who went to TO for their careers. If Ontario continues to grow while BC shrinks, we will go. Its more about our limited job market than housing prices, really.”

25 responses to “Leaving – “We have decided to give up on Vancouver.”

  1. I completely understand why you would do what you are doing. We owned a house from 1987 to 2009. We sold for a good price in 2009. When we bought in 1987 we put 25% down. But today they made it so anyone could buy a house, which on the surface sounds good, but in reality, some people should not buy a house. Specifically those people who can’t afford it, should not buy a house. By enabling people who can’t really afford to buy a house to do just that, they made it so people with actual wealth are shut out.

    We sold because our adult children moved out. And we didn’t want or need to live across the street from a school anymore. We lived in that particular area because it was best for our kids. When they moved out it made sense to sell and move to an area that we liked. We are in a position to buy a house without a mortgage, but I have no interest in touching this particular RE market, because it is grossly overpriced. I really don’t care what anyone thinks of renters, good or bad. And the longer we rent the more I like it, outside of some of the weird stuff newbie landlords do, it’s mostly good.

  2. Well for those moving to San Diego, I have some wonderful news for you: prices are very close to being at fundamental value again! For many higher-end areas there is a ways to go, but it’s no longer many hundreds of thousands of dollars at risk.

    For those moving to San Diego, there is a lurker on RET known as HomelessinSD who may be willing to provide some advice on where to live/buy.

    Exciting times!

    PS I am nowhere near as sanguine about Toronto prices… 😦

  3. San Diego, my favorite city in the world. Good luck to you, you will certainly know how to apreciate the sunshine of California after spending 300 days a year in pouring rain.
    Goodbye mushroom life in the best city on the earth… I wish I could do that, how do you get a green card?

    • See, all a matter of choice, but quite frankly I can’t stand California weather, I like the change of seasons and the first bite of frost. And yeah, Vancouver doesn’t really have that, so I may end up moving somewhere a bit cooler 😉

      I admit I’d live in Alaska or the Yukon if I could deal with the darkness in winter.

  4. We left more for careers than house affordability. Just a snapshot of prices in Calgary – you can get a bungalow similar to what is in the Oakridge area in the NW part of Calgary, close to the university, 15 minutes from downtown for around 450-550K. We both make way more in Alberta than In BC, then take in no HST. Yeah the weather can blow sometimes, but way more sunny days. The shopping here is great and more and more ethnic restaurants are opening. The benefit is that we are only a 1 hour flight away.

  5. Sadly for Vancouver – lots of talent is leaving.

    The job base is eroding.

    The number of people that depend on the construction racket for their daily bread, is truly staggering.

    Too expensive now? – just wait until food prices catch the attention of the slumbering Vancouver masses.

    Wheat, Sugar, Cocoa – all heading to the moon – Corn.

    Wake up, it’s a brand new day.

    • Well, are you surprised? I have been living here now for five years and I have never worked for a local company:

      First contract was for a California outfit who needed someone in Canada, I just happened to have the right skills and was hired.

      Second contract was essentially in Toronto.

      Third contract, which I just started, same thing.

      The rates here in Vancouver are stuck somewhere in the 1980s an companies can’t understand why they cannot attract a lot of the people they want. I mean, I like it here, but if I couldn’t work remotely I wouldn’t bother staying here either.

      • me too local companies here don’t pay any decent salaries. I recently contemplated going full time and put the consulting work i have been doing for the past 6 years on hold. I interviewed with a very successful local company with about 250 employees and their idea of what to pay for the position was so low that if I took the position I would not make ends meet every month. Their response was we pay a bit above the average salary for such a position in Vancouver. I have given up on the idea of ever working full time in Vancouver as I don’t expect companies here to pay a good salary. So I continue doing consulting work for clients in the USA and Ontario and I am working on developing a product one of my concerns is eventually finding people to work for my business. My favorite questions to real estate bulls I run into is name me one world class company with HQ in Vancouver area other than EA.

  6. You don’t know how mind bending it is that this post is batting around San Diego as some kind of mecca of affordability.

    But on that note, anyone looking for real estate in SD must follow/watch Jim the Realtor, bubbleinfo.com He’s a hoot and a total straight shooter. Tours homes on video that aren’t even his listings. Which is very unusual.

  7. We’re staying in Vancouver because we’ve got 3 sets of grandparents for the kids nearby, and neither my husband or I has much interest in BC outside of Vancouver proper. But my subconscious has something else to say: twice this past week, I’ve dreamed of the relief of packing up and moving to Toronto or Montreal.

  8. I’m one of these guys that just left Vancouver for London, UK. I really loved the 5 years I spend in Vancouver, but the prospect of not being able to afford anything despite my $100/year salary finally turned me off. My company offered me a 6-month mission with expat package in London, which I accepted despite the fact that my wife was pregnant (she just delivered last Friday!). I arrived in London on January 14 and I truly love it. My local boss offered me to stay in London after my mission, on a local contract… I thought about it, discussed with my wife and we decided it was the best option for us. London is expensive too (although groceries are much cheaper), but I’ll be paid 30% more here than in Vancouver. My standard of living is and will be better than in Vancouver and I will be able to afford something here in the foreseeable future. Job opportunities are limitless here, unlike tiny Vancouver…

    After spending a month here and looking back, I just think Vancouver is so outrageously expensive. From Groceries to housing, shopping, restaurants, etc., everything is overprice with most often questionable quality/service. In Vancouver, I find I’m getting ripped off all day long (don’t get me started on Banking or worse mobile phone). Things are expensive too here, but I find I do get value for what I pay. And I just love so much going to Museum… for free!

    Vancouver is good but certainly not the “best place on earth” (how pretentious!!!), and there are lots of amazing places around the world that are more worth it than Vancouver.

    • Congrats El Magnifico on the new baby and the new life! Have fun in London it’s an awesome city!

      • Thanks Bailing in BC. I’m living in Earl’s Court, near Kensington and Chelsea. The neighborhood is has lots of character and is really beautiful. Even though my life has been very busy with the baby this past week (so many diapers to change!), I intend to discover more and more parts of the city during spring time.
        The weather is not great here, but one thing I like is that it can be cloudy without being rainy 🙂

    • “…I just love so much going to Museum… for free!”…

      I always said, ‘Vancouver’s a wonderful place when the sun is shining and you’ve got a couple of toonies in your pocket – but a terrible place to earn a buck [the ‘old school’ way]’… Savour your time in Perfidious Albion, El Magnifico – you won’t regret it!

      In that vein, may I suggest: Pick up a sandwich/soda @ Pret A Manger, Charing Cross – stroll through Trafalgar Square… lounge for a while on the steps of St. Martin in the Fields then wander past the Fountain/Lord Nelson into the National Portrait Gallery and check out Holbein’s, ‘The Ambassadors’ (note the anamorphic perspective obscuring the foreground skull)…


      • Thanks Nemesis, I’ll definitely have a look at those places!
        I’ve already spent quite some time Regent/Oxford Street (because of my wife: “I don’t have a lot of time before I deliver”…).
        Trafalgar square is next on my to-do list. There are also so many museums to visit, I have no idea if I’ll be able to find enough time to visit them all.

        I agree with you, Vancouver is a fantastic city if you have lots of money. I was just earning a bit above average, and that was not enough to truly enjoy everything Vancouver has to offer… I’ll be back one day, after the madness ends…

      • I’ve spent days doing precisely what you describe, Nemesis.
        Minor point from the archivist in me: The wonderful ‘The Ambassadors’ is in the National Gallery itself, the Portrait Gallery is around the corner (and equally worth a visit). The smaller single portrait Holbein’s in the National are also exquisite. [Robert Hughes correctly said of the Holbein portraits “perhaps the human face will never again be rendered so well” (paraphrasing).]
        Also take in the small ‘Cortaulds Institute’ (near Trafalgar Square) and, south of The River the ‘New Tate’.
        London is full of so many riches.

      • You’re bang on about The Ambassadors being in the permanent collection of the National, VREAA… but for some reason I have a vague recollection of last seeing ‘them’ @ the NPG (if I did, it would have been on loan/incorporated into a NPG Tudor portraiture exhibition)… Of course, post-gallery – I would inordinately end up in one of the myriad pubs along The Strand… So perhaps, in this instance, my memory has been less than eidetic.


      • You may well have seen the Holbeins at a special exhibition at the NPG.
        You also had me second guessing myself because I know the NPG has changed over the years. But I do know ‘The Ambassadors’ lives in the NG.

        Anyway, in agreement about the importance of the pub experience.
        Purely for research purposes, of course.
        The Brits sure know how to drink.
        Two pints at lunch standard in The City.
        How the hell they manage to still be alert enough to manipulate the world’s gold markets in that state is beyond me….

      • You know guys, my first feeling when I came to Vancouver in 2006 was this: “This will make a great home base”.

        Note base in there, not home alone.

        The reality is: If you can afford to get away from this place a few times a year it’s actually really really groovy. If you’re stuck here you quickly turn miserable, not only because of the rain but just the sheer boredom of it.

        I joked a while ago with a friend of mine from Belgium: “It’s like they came here, saw the natural beauty and decided to not even try.”

  9. Pingback: “We’re staying in Vancouver but my subconscious has something else to say: twice this past week, I’ve dreamed of the relief of packing up and moving to Toronto or Montreal.” | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

  10. Pingback: “We are in a position to buy a house without a mortgage, but I have no interest in touching this particular RE market, because it is grossly overpriced.” | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

  11. Pingback: “I’m one of these guys that just left Vancouver for London, UK. The prospect of not being able to afford anything despite my $100K/year salary finally turned me off.” | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

  12. guys…ya’ll need to wake up! its the old green-grass story…..you guys are new to london yet…wait awhile…like a few yrs maybe….then wait n see! im just judging by what youve said…u were earning $100k in BC..now earning 30% more in london…so it works out youre earning circa £76 000 now? well, bear in mind, that is a damn good wage in the uk…the average for, say and engineer who took years to get qualified, is £30 000 max in london…so yes, of course youre loving it! but also bear in mind, you are extremely lucky to earn that much…folks in london and the uk are virtually on the bread line due to the recession..and that means the average joe…gas (petrol) is sky-high, food just as expensive as in BC, health service is on its last legs, racism is and always has been second nature to most of the indigenous population, unlimited and unchecked immigration from the open borders of europe, blah, blah, blah…i could go on! dont get me wrong…i grew up here…and my folks moved out to canada years ago…and im back on work assignment…but from what i seen in my 1.5 yrs here….i cant wait to get back to Van city….:) enjoy your stay!

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