“We love it in Vancouver but are making plans to move within the next couple of years as we’ll never be able to afford to buy a reasonable home here. People move here, stay for a few years, then inevitably leave as it’s just too unaffordable.”

“My wife and I are in our early 30’s and are both professionals, all of our friends generally fit the same description. We love it in Vancouver but are making plans to move within the next couple of years as we’ll never be able to afford to buy a reasonable piece of property home here. Believe me, we don’t want a ridiculous McMansion and just want something basic, but that simply doesn’t exist in Vancouver anymore.
Almost all of our friends are making similar plans; a couple we know moved to Nanaimo last year as they could both find equivalent work and could buy a detached home for the less than the price of a one-bedroom condo in Vancouver.
There’s a reason this city feels so transient compared to places like Toronto and Ottawa; because it is. People move here, stay for a few years, then inevitably leave as it’s just too unaffordable.”

mizike, reddit.com, 13 Apr 2011
[hat-tip matt, for alerting us to this reddit discussion]

Related comment from same thread:
“[I will be] moving from BC to ontario or quebec in the next few years. This actually makes me happy to know I’m going to be in a kick ass home once I switch markets.”monolithdigital, reddit.com, 13 Apr 2011

18 responses to ““We love it in Vancouver but are making plans to move within the next couple of years as we’ll never be able to afford to buy a reasonable home here. People move here, stay for a few years, then inevitably leave as it’s just too unaffordable.”

  1. A comment totally unrelated to this post. I had a very interested conversation yesterday with the “boss” of Tsur Summerville, the guy so many people hate here (the RE guru at UBC).
    I asked a few questions about the RE market in Vancouver and his view are interesting:
    – he genuinely doesn’t believe that a RE crash will happen in Vancouver. He definitely thinks that the RE won’t go up anymore but he said we can expect a slight correction (maybe 5-10%) and then a flat market for years (basically until salaries/economy catch up)
    – he acknowledge that there has been a massive inflow of mainland Chinese buyers in Vancouver but also told me there are serious no studies conducted regarding their impact on the market (like say % of transactions made by mainland Chinese). He said such a study won’t be conducted because it is too politically sensitive…
    – the most interesting thing he said is that Tsur is definitely aware that the RE market in Vancouver is in bubble territory. He issued a few statements about that and got some heat back from the RE industry (who by the way finance most of his research). So anything that comes out of his office is being made not to offend the RE industry at large, and his sponsors…

    It is sad that it is impossible to get honest and genuine information on the RE market. Even the analyses coming from a reputable university are manipulated by people who have vested interests in that industry…

    • How can anyone call himself an economist, declare that there is a bubble while simultaneously declaring that prices will remain flat in said bubble?

      • Careful here: the anecdote suggests that Tsur “is definitely aware” that the market is “in bubble territory”, but it’s his boss who’s offering the opinion that a crash won’t happen and prices will be flat for years. Tsur and his “boss” don’t necessarily agree. The anecdote doesn’t exclude them disagreeing though.

        Regardless, say one of them did say what you’re suggesting, holding apparently contradictory beliefs simultaneously.
        The reason would be that bubbles pervert people’s basic ability to think.
        Intelligent people may see all the basic evidence of a bubble and then STILL conclude “it’s different this time”. Amazing, eh? Part of what makes the whole thing so fascinating.

      • El Magnifico

        I have to second vreaa on that one. It’s probably my approximate english the problem 🙂
        What I meant is that Tsur is definitely aware of the bubble situation but can’t report it exactly the way he should or would like to because of his ties to the RE folks (you can’t bite too hard the hand that his feeding you…).

        RE slightly decreasing and then becoming flat for a few years is the opinion of his boss. I didn’t discuss with him whether he agrees or share similar views with Tsur.

  2. this is sort of like ICBC accident statistics for certain demographics and certain regions.

  3. This whole ‘until salaries/economy catch up’ stuff cracks me up. Are these people not aware that wages in the US and Canada have essentially been flat over the past decade? Oh, I see, this coming decade will be different.

    • Agreed, paradoxical. If wages didn’t rise with all the stimulus of the housing boom, how can they now be expected to rise when the boom goes flat?

      • El Magnifico

        I agree too. He said that’s what happen after the previous waves of immigration from Iran after the revolution, from HK and also from India (he did say that immigration from India impacted more Surrey than Vancouver). He also said, in previous times, when the market went down, people hold off and were able to wait a few years before selling.
        I think that when the time comes to renew the mortgage with higher interest rates, people may not have any choice but to sell at a loss or declare bankrupcy (http://tinyurl.com/62jfvub).

        Anyway, I didn’t want to argue too much about it and spoil the mood at the gathering, it was meant to be a friendly event…

        I personnally think that the Vancouver market is over-valued by at least 50% and I also believe, unlike Garth Turner, that the crash will come rapidly, maybe over a couple of years. When the market tanked in 2009 before being rescued by the BoC, it didn’t take long for prices to go down by 10-15% in Vancouver. Next time that happens, there’s not much the BoC will be able to do to stop the vicious circle, and people will be on “panic mode” to sell as quickly as they can.

      • Yeha this is problem with globalization money can move anywhere in the world, companies can setup shop any where in the world and citizens can’t move across borders freely. This is the story of our time get all the workers of the world to compete with each other for wages, and the governments of the world to compete with each other for tax cuts to corporations …. etc I think this story leads straight to chaos and gigantic problems. The system is so good to exploiting natural resources we are going to run out of resources and have a break down in the division of labor and essentially reverse globalization. Or we are going to have social revolution and re balance the world, I don’t see the social revolution part ever happening as the elites of the world have more in common with each other and more aligned in their thinking than the non elites. Man I am feeling cheerful this Friday Morning 🙂

      • @ams, it is soon going to be more and more difficult to “flow” money to certain parts of the world. To wit Taiwan has started imposing capital flow restrictions. Canada, OTOH, LOVES capital flows, the more the merrier; I just don’t know what direction they should be netting out to! 😯

      • @ams yeah that happens after you sift through 2000 riot photos and 100 hours of video 😦 you start wondering if dawkins was right re: self replicating automata..

    • Yeah look at the numbers. Nominal wage growth needs to run above 4% for 10 years straight just to bring price-income back to 1 sigma above the long-term average. And if we’re pulling 4% PA wage growth you can be pretty sure interest rates are going to be a lot higher than current.

      The soft landing theory always cracks me up.

  4. This also relates to the other thread with the guy in Point Grey and how he doesn’t know his neighbors anymore. Vancouver is almost becoming a resort city. I think there is probably more neighborhood feel in certain parts of Surrey, Maple Ridge etc. Personally my wife and I gave up on the idea of coming back to Vancouver after leaving for Calgary 7 years ago. We will move back for retirement or when our kids are much older. It just does not make economical sense or even social sense. I don’t want to commute for more than 1 hour a day or more which could happen if we moved back. We want to enjoy Vancouver and live in the city. Right now, Calgary offers a much better standard of living, better neighborhood feel etc. The only thing that is bad is the long winters and the Flames!! Go Canucks Go!!

  5. After a lot of discussion, I’ve managed to convince my parents to put their home on the market. They live in relatively expensive part of Vancouver and they’ve decided to list their home at approximately $300 000 more than (what I think) the market will support. The rationale for listing their home is that the market is doing well and there are a lot of mainland chinese out there who want to live in their neighbourhood (I often see mainlanders slowly driving around the neighbourhood like drive by shooters). Listing the house at such a ridiculous price requires little effort for what might be a ridiculous potential payoff, so which I asked my parents, “why not try it?”.

    There’s a second major reason for convincing my parents to sell now. It’s somewhat distressing to me that my mom has developed a desire to buy condo. After all, it was she that told me never to buy a condo because the maintenance fees are ridiculous, they will lose their value more quickly than detached properties in a declining market and they are leasehold. I think it has a lot to do with watching HGTV and flipping through glossy ads for new condo projects. However, she now feels that a condo would more suit her lifestyle (she and my dad travel a lot for pleasure) and she doesn’t want to worry about maintenance. I’m quite happy for her to buy a condo as long as she gets rid of her zero mortgage house first.

  6. My husband and I grew up in Vancouver in the 1970s and it was a BEAUTIFUL city with literally NO crime at all. Since about the early 1990s it has dramatically changed and become so unafordable that we decided to leave and raise our family elsewhere as SAD as it was to do so. We defintiely made the RIGHT decision. Vancouver used to be a middle class, European family type city but NOT any longer. It was the hardest thing that we ever had to do but just to let everyone know that there really is GOOD life outside of Vancouver, you just have to give another part of Canada a chance.

  7. Who needs Jericho, I never used it anyhow. We laugh as people always ask us if we miss the ocean and I say NO, as I never used it. Now with so many areas around Vancouver you CANNOT any longer hike and walk with the dog as the Asians don’t like it so many areas where you could hike with the dog are now cordoned off from pets. Why is a certain group just allowed to say we don’t like something so its no more. Shouldn’t this be voted on first??? Well, I guess when it comes to Vancouver money talks and so once again, the poor working class bum that pays for everything gets shut out. You can’t win in Vancouver anymore unless you are wealthy and I’m not willing to work 2 jobs just to pay all the taxes and put my kids into daycare full time to pay someone else to raise them, whats the point of having them????? My hubby got a great job and it allows me to be stay-at-home and look after my children properly. We now have a house and the dog is FREE to run and enjoy himself the way the it was meant to be.

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