“I have lived in Vancouver my whole life, my wife and I are mid career professionals (university profs) … We are actively looking to sell out and escape to either Alberta or Montreal. There is no future in Vancouver for the next generation (unless one is off-the-scale rich)…”

mjw at VREAA 12 May 2011 10:07pm
“I have lived here my whole life, my wife and I are mid career professionals (university profs) and have almost paid off a nice 1M (but only 1400 sq foot duplex in Kits).. we don’t see it as prudent to move up to a 1.6M shack on the westside, and spend the last 25 years of my working career making 4.5K monthly payments on some crappy house…
The only hope for this city is to follow Australia’s recent lead (as of about a year ago) to restrict foreign speculative buying of real estate… Look it up… In the past year the Melbourne market is going down, and locals have a chance…
By giving up the fallacious “world class city” concept, 90% of the locals will have a much improved quality of life….

When the government sets out to create a “world class city”, it really means the following:
1) we invite any and all speculators from abroad who have made money under whatever legal or corrupt circumstances to come and buy up our city, driving locals who have a decent (but not top) wage to Langley if they want to have a family in a decent house with decent schools…
ii) interesting and unique city stores/facilities (remember what Denman used to look like?… the interesting local stores on Robson in the 1980′s?… the Ridge theatre effectively gone….. the vibrant fringe festival of the 1990′s….)… all replaced by high-end crappy stores selling gucchi bags and fancy shoes…. in a few years Commerical drive will go the same way…

Locals who have a very good, but not world class income, frantically try to keep and try to move up the property market, first via an expensive condo, then a main street 1M reno-project…. being in a very vulnerable position with regards to much higher interest rates, and praying that when your kids are 14 years old that Sir Charles Tupper will become a decent school.. Nothing like working so hard for years to establish some financial security, only to send your kids to some very mediocre school (because it is the only areas that you can afford), and have the next generation not have the education to compete in the “global marketplace”. Clearly, this boot-strapping up the property ladder will not work for those starting in the bottom rung (i.e. buying a 400K apartment and hoping for a huge appreciation to get to 600K and then get to the next rung)……. there is no hope to climb up one rung at a time….

Unless one has purchased a long time ago, or inherited a huge whack of cash, living in this city (west of the Port Mann bridge) in a decent sfh in a good school district will result in a very difficult financial struggle on a combined salary of less than 150K….

The “world class city” concept has destroyed the liveability of this city for locals, and many of the unique features of the pre-world class Vancouver have been lost…. We are actively looking to sell out and escape to either Alberta or Montreal…. there is no future in Vancouver for the next generation (unless one is off-the-scale rich)….”

64 responses to ““I have lived in Vancouver my whole life, my wife and I are mid career professionals (university profs) … We are actively looking to sell out and escape to either Alberta or Montreal. There is no future in Vancouver for the next generation (unless one is off-the-scale rich)…”

  1. Welcome to the club! Been gone since 2001, no regrets other than leaving family, friends behind, although living in Edmonton or Calgary is easy to fly back frequently and drive back in the summer and fall. Seriously we make about 15-20% more in our jobs than we would in Vancouver. Then factor in house prices, taxes etc. 1 million in Calgary, you will be living very well.

  2. you mean there is no future in Vancouver for you or your future generations. Since home sales continue at a brisk pace, your statement is obviously only true for yourself. Be careful not to draw such ego-centristic conclusions

  3. “The only hope for this city is to follow Australia’s recent lead (as of about a year ago) to restrict foreign speculative buying of real estate… Look it up… In the past year the Melbourne market is going down, and locals have a chance…”

    in the past year Melbourne prices are up, Sydney is up, Adelaide is up, Canberra is up. Perth and Brisbane are down. Prices are generally flat.
    Don’t assume these Australian style changes to foreign purchases will be your savior, they won’t.

    “Annual Changes (March Quarter 2010 to March Quarter 2011)

    Preliminary estimates show that the price index for established houses for the weighted average of the eight capital cities decreased 0.2% in the year to March quarter 2011.
    Annually, house prices increased in Melbourne (+1.1%), Canberra (+1.1%), Adelaide (+0.9%), Sydney (+0.8%), Hobart (+0.6%), and Darwin (+0.5%), and decreased in Brisbane (-3.6%) and Perth (-3.2%)”.

  4. 1.1%, 0.9%, 0.8%… that sounds darn good to me. To whom do I write to enact such foreign ownership laws? Why, Premier Christy “I just barely won my seat in one of the most overpriced markets in the country due in part to absentee ownership” Clark, of course!

    • Clark had workers out in force to get that very slim victory. During the campaign, some homes in the area were visited three times by Clark’s promoters; none by Eby’s. Different budgets, one would guess.

    • I’m sure that was the case but PG is Liberal under the surface. The goal of any correspondence with Clark or others vying for ridings with poor ownership affordability would be to concentrate on how the “best and the brightest” are leaving the city because of high prices, and the city is left with semi-vacant houses that only already-wealthy part-time residents, not the next generation of up-and-coming learned contributors, can afford.

      I would recommend to phrase the complaint in a language that politicians can understand — elicit an argument that would resonate with, say, boomer constituents who are starting to come to terms that their children will be economically banished from the neighbourhoods in which they grew up. That’s a powerful message and one, with a bit of thought, could be made to sway lawmakers to do something about it. This is not a wedge issue if it causes the Liberal base to erode.

      All it would take, in my view, is enacting a law that has no real effect but makes it look like the government is doing something. As we saw in Richmond since the earthquake, linking perceptions to realities are somewhat lacking with marginal investors, who dropped Richmond faster than a dirty rag. Push for more but quietly suggest foreign ownership restrictions or taxes. We are pretty sure most homes are owned by residents, and if Rusty’s assertion is correct, it won’t matter anyways, so what’s the harm other than appeasing a marginal constituency.

  5. Based on your commentary about Vancouver, I think you’d like Montreal a lot. Price that duplex aggressively and get moving.

    You may want to rent in Montreal for a bit, however. Don’t suffer reverse sticker shock to the degree that you miss the fact that Montreal is the second most over priced city in Canada. Fall coming there too.

  6. Rusty clearly must be working actively in the real estate field (with a naturally vested interest to keep the status quo)…

    In order for the average Vancouverite to get a sense on what some restrictions on speculation might do, I urge everyone to please look at the following link (which shows a rather strong fall in the Aussie market in the past quarter).

    http://www.propertywire.com/news/australasia/australia-property-price-falls-201105055156.html

    Is it only coincidence that the flatness of the market over the past year, followed by the decline, is a result of the new laws providing some restriction on foreign buying of existing housing stock?…. I don’t think so….
    It will be very interesting to follow the market in Australia over the next few years…. Anyone who is tired of the rampant speculation associated with our city should lobby their local MP’s on this issue… I fully support Peter Ladner’s call for an active debate on this issue…

  7. Rusty –

    “you mean there is no future in Vancouver for you or your future generations. Since home sales continue at a brisk pace, your statement is obviously only true for yourself. Be careful not to draw such ego-centristic conclusions”

    In case you were unaware, populations and distribution are constructed by summing individual cases, and if you this is an isolated case and only applies to the poster, you are being obtuse in the extreme.

    My wife and I are in the same boat. Thankfully my 100k job is portable. Once my wife either finds a suitable job (even if it pays significantly less) or goes on mat leave, whichever comes first, we are heading to the okanagan. I have a friend who moved his family to Kelowna and commutes to his six-figure job at Powerex. He would rather pay for plane tickets and have his kids live in a decent house in a good neighbourhood and go to a good school.

    That makes three of us and there are many, many others.

  8. JRoss
    By your definition this bear blog site would be an ample cross-section of beliefs regarding Vancouver real estate? Wrong. Most home owners are pretty content and have no need to constantly belly-ache about the high cost of housing. The folks who can afford to buy here are also not miserable online bloggers. Try another theory

  9. Rusty,

    WTF are you talking about?

    My one friend has nothing to do with this or any other bear blog sites. Moved to Kelowna to BUY A HOUSE because it affords a better lifestyle at a much cheaper cost. Period.

    There are numerous educated, informed, high-earning people, who have never visisted a bear blog, leaving the city for better values elsewhere.

    You want another example? My wife works for MetroVancouver. She was at a meeting where North Van official were expressing concern over the withering of the 25-45 demographic. Despite anecdotes to the contrary, the data show people of child bearing age leaving in droves.

    You think this isn’y happening across a broad cross section of people you are kidding yourself.

  10. This Summer Im visiting a friend who just moved to Calgary to see what its like.

    Im also going to go down to Seattle for a weekend to see what its like.

    Anyone have knowledge of what its like for a CDN who wants to move Seattle? Im in a profession that is in pretty big demand in the US/World (IT). The US always cries that there is a massive shortage in my sector of IT. I think I would be able to get a green card possibly?? Or is that very hard to get these days? Im not going to move to seattle if im going to be like some temp 6 month IT guy from India… any advice would be appreciated.

    I think Seattle would be beter than Calgary b/c I would be closer to my family.

    • You can get a TN visa, the question is if a company wants to hire you. There is a general “tone” in the US right now against immigrants / migrants in general because the economy hasn’t recovered.

      As for IT. I am in the same field, currently on contract with AT&T here in Van and my feeling / feedback from my peers in the US is that it sucks. Pretty much a similar vibe / tone I heard from people in the US when I worked for IBM in my previous contract.

      The IT job situation in large companies in the US seems to be “fluid”. At least AT&T and IBM (and I am guessing other similar companies as well) seem to have offshored most of the non high-level jobs to Brazil or India and China. IBM just moved the purchasing for our group to China from Brazil. So large corps I guess are out, but there seem to be quite a few smaller ones that are not that gung-ho about getting rid of local talent.

      Of curse, YMMV.

      • thanks man. thats good feedback. might be time to bail on IT altogether if I can get into consulting/ BA type stuff.

        cheers!

  11. stats do not support your wife’s anecdotal claim.
    Vancouver has been 55-62K school enrolment for 20 years now (not sure about N. Van but my guess is it’s probably the same). Coq, Burnaby, Richmond are all static. The only area with marked increase in enrolment is Surrey, 44K to 65K in 20 years.
    http://www.btaworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/btaworks_schoolenrollment_final.pdf
    So are families “fleeing” Vancouver because they can’t afford it? Nope. Is there a shift of income classes? Lower income families out and higher income in? Very likely. And just in case you aren’t aware, higher income families have children in private schools (check the growth in private school enrolment for Vancouver).

    • Ironically, we wouldn’t be surprised if increased housing prices are driving private school enrolment — Paying 16K per annum for one child in a private school becomes that much easier when your westside bungalow is increasing in ‘value’ by $50K-$120K p.a. [Another RE_ATM effect?]

    • “Lower income families out and higher income in? Very likely.”
      …. That was the original claim that you decided to argue with, you bizarre & reading challenged troll.

      Look right up there in the title: it says “There is no future in Vancouver for the next generation (unless one is off-the-scale rich)…” Perhaps you’re offended that the anecdote shows an example of a family that wouldn’t normally feel lower income feeling like their choices here are constrained due to the influx of super-wealth. But that is sort of the point. The question isn’t “is there more wealth in the Vancouver market today?” – the answer there is a resounding “Um, DUH.” – the question is “Is this wealth good for the city and sustainable?”

  12. How are the stats looking for this site (and other bear blogs)? That would give one indication of how many people are interested in this issue (even if not 100% convinced)

    • FWIIW, the hits on this site have been increasing at quite a pace. We started the blog in 2008, but only really started posting anecdotes very regularly (daily) by the end of 2009. Since Jan 2010 the average number of hits per day has doubled every 7-8 months. (It’s unlikely that that pace will be maintained!)
      That’s the stat for hits, though, and doesn’t necessarily represent increasing numbers of readers. wordpress doesn’t have an easy way of the tracking number of unique visitors to a site.
      VCI has also noted increased traffic over the same period.

      [caveat: Most of the new hits here this last month are probably from rusty. -ed.]

  13. Rusty

    “stats do not support your wife’s anecdotal claim.
    Vancouver has been 55-62K school enrolment for 20 years now (not sure about N. Van but my guess is it’s probably the same). Coq, Burnaby, Richmond are all static.”

    Are you daft?

    My wife’s ‘anecdotal’ claim was statistics presented by the city of North Vancouver. Statistics they will use to decide which schools to close.

    And as for the rest of your ‘counter-argument’, school enrolments are static for 20 years, are they? Has overall population been static as well? What do static school enrolments in the wake of overall population increases tell you about shifting demographics? Think real hard.

  14. And you contradict yourself in succesive sentences.

    “So are families “fleeing” Vancouver because they can’t afford it? Nope. Is there a shift of income classes? Lower income families out and higher income in? Very likely.”

    Not to mention that median incomes don’t support you claim in the first place.

  15. JRoss
    yes, public school closures and private school openings. I guess you didn’t read my comment very carefully. Unless your wife is also providing stats for private school enrolment then this is only one side of the story. By the way, where are those stats your wife provided? Conspicuously absent

  16. Just wanted to point out a comment in the Cam Good article about yet another gem by Cam Good:
    https://vreaa.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/cam-good-in-the-vancouver-sun-if-you-suffer-from-real-estate-impotence-stop-feeling-sorry-for-yourself-pick-up-the-phone-to-call-a-realtor-or-a-mortgage-broker-real-estate-is-the-best-investmen/#comment-9291

    Right now, around 80 per cent of all real estate sold in Vancouver is to Chinese/Hong Kong buyers

  17. BTW, we’d expect one of the many consequences of the coming RE bust to be more ‘space’ in private schools. (Reverse of the process mentioned above).

  18. JRoss
    There is no evidence that familes are fleeing Vancouver. I merely provided a scenario that “may” be true. Unless you can come up with concrete proof that this is happening then we’ll assume it isn’t. And by proof I don’t mean hearing about a few of your friends that have left the city.
    As far as the link I provided above, Vancouver PUBLIC school enrolment is down 5% since 2001. You can hardly call this a flood leaving the city. Again, stats do not show that educated, informed and high-earning people are leaving, in fact, this is exactly the demographic that are staying in Vancouver.

  19. Anecdotes are just anecdotes, sure, but there are now a good number of stories of “educated, informed and high-earning [by almost any standards] people” either leaving Vancouver or deciding not to settle here. We suspect that these stories are important indicators of a social & economic force that is the direct result of the speculative mania in RE. It’s an example of the misallocation of resources that occurs in a bubble.
    When you have time, page through this sidebar category: ‘Avoiding Vancouver’, and, along with other relevant articles, you’ll see some of those kinds of stories for yourself.
    [BTW, we’d welcome any anecdotes about people coming to Vancouver, who see our RE as fairly priced for what they get, and who discuss what they’ve bought and how they feel about it. If you know of any such stories, please send them along. We haven’t come across any in our reading, if we had, we’d have posted them.]

    • Anecdotally, I came to Vancouver 6 years ago after finishing university. Love the climbing and the skiing. Can’t figure out why anyone who doesn’t would want to live here. Lots of rain, expensive houses, lower wages, mediocre restaurants, mediocre urban entertainment. I could move to Ottawa and get a 20% pay increase. As far as urban areas are concerned, much more livable.

  20. I think the point is that many people who grew up in Vancouver (West side or East) have found it too unaffordable to buy a home where they grew up, unless they got an inheritance of the house they lived in, have a substantial income, or received a huge gift of money from parents etc. There are still wealthy families coming in to vancouver, so the public school enrollment will not go down too much. Some people including myself, fleed because of significant others job transfers etc. Others will flee because of the inability to live a comfortable life economically in Vancouver. I grew up on the west side and it was “middle class” back then. Now it is really becoming a playground for the wealthy, mostly immigrant based.

  21. http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Opinion+Dear+rest+Canada+please+your+hockey+team/4769549/story.html

    this is “cute.” Apparently the rest of Canada does not want to root for the Canucks because they have Vancouver envy.

  22. Thank you Absinthe… You have a very clear understanding of the key issue that so many people are dealing with… The question that Peter Ladner raises (and that my wife and I echo) regarding the long-term effects of the speculative real estate market and steroid-laced housing price increases on the health of our city is well-founded….
    From my vantage point, another key issue that the typical young vancouver family will face (and again is connected to the real estate market) is the following:
    1. Many of the good local elementary schools on the west side eagerly recruit full-fee paying students…. getting into UHill elementary even if you are in the catchment area (living on the UBC campus) is not guaranteed due to spaces occupied by full-fee paying students…. I know personally of many kids who are sent out of the catchment area to Southlands school and elsewhere….
    2. secondly, there has been a dramatic increase in the grade point average needed to get into first year science program at UBC from secondary schools in B.C…. it was an 82% average around 2000, and now for 2011 it is now a 90% overall average (these are facts that I know from my job, but are not generally public knowledge). UBC has a new policy of reserving a certain percentage of spots for full-fee paying international students, and this number has increased to approximately 14 percent for entering undergraduates…. This number has increased dramatically since 2000….
    Is the severe increase in grade-point average a direct result of the university encouraging foreign full-fee paying students?… Will the percentage be 20% in a few years?…. I would love to have this issue raised for debate in a political setting…. UBC already has by far the highest required grade-point entry for first year science than any university in Canada…

    My theory, is that as a way of deflecting discussion on this important topic the government decided to “ease the pressure on UBC and SFU” by changing the status of Capilano and other colleges to “Universities”… in this way, a local kid with an 85% high school average who was not good enough to get into the “new UBC” would at least get into someplace that sounded like a university….. the chances then on eventually getting into a higher paid professional job as an engineer, specialized computer skills. doctor, lawyer, etc..(such as what UBC, SFU would offer) are then rather slim…..

    How is this connected to real estate? The kids who are now being enrolled in good private schools with many opportunities (owing to the huge increase in foreign wealth in the city), will have a marked advantage in the future when UBC, SFU, etc.. become even more competitive for entry…

    Consider the local professional family who has done well in this difficult market to get a main street reno project for 1.1M, and whose kids now go to a rather mediocre local school (with the parents hoping that the school improves over time etc…). The option of private school on top of a maxed-out mortgage is not in the cards for most. Those kids will be at a severe disadvantage in getting into UBC, SFU, etc… in comparison to the offspring of these hyper-rich families who either paid full-fees at an excellent local public school (UHill, Queen-Mary, etc, i.e. buying their way into the system) or else went to one of the newly created or well-established private schools that now dot the new landscape of the new Vancouver….

    Is this the type of hyper-competitive society that we want for our next generation?…. This is indeed a possibly speculative, but from my vantage point I think it is a rather likely one… A wide-scale grass-roots movement in Australia eventually lead to enough pressure on politicians for the imposition of regulations governing foreign buying of existing real estate stock… The Australian market is now at a standstill, and in decline (as my link previously pointed out)… Clearly there are those that either are happy with the things are now (i.e Rusty), those who don’t really care as they are more interested in other issues etc… and would live here without complaint no matter what.

    However, I have a strong sense that there are many people who would back (in a grass-roots way) the call of Peter Ladner to initiate a political debate on the long-term effects of whether this hyper-increase in foreign wealth arriving in B.C. is ultimately good for the health of our society and the next generation….

  23. You really can’t read, can you. Your moniker is well matched to your intellect.

    “By the way, where are those stats your wife provided”

    For the third, and last time – My wife attended a meeting where North Vancouver presented their own statistics. If that is not sufficient for you I do not care.

    We are not being invaded, so no one is fleeing anything. No dam has been breached and I never claimed a flood. Those were your hyperboles, not mine, clearly chosen to demean the opposing argument, while doing nothing of substance to bolster your own.

    Many people are choosing rationally to leave Vancouver. This is displayed in clearly my wider group of aqaintenances and in avialable data were you not so blinded by your own confirmation bias. If you choose to pretend otherwise, knock yourself out.

    My grandfather told me never to argue with a fool or a drunk. For your sake I hope you like the sauce. In either case it is good advice that I will now heed.

  24. I left Vancouver in 2006 with my wife – the high cost / low quality of housing was a big reason. We were both newly minted Architects – both working (ironically on high rise condo projects). We got married and rented a nice little one bedroom. We were expecting a son, still had school debt and had been kicked out of a couple rental places due to sales. Sat down with a nice lady from RBC to talk about what we could afford – 350 was our pre-assumed limit. RBC lady said “you guys are the most conservative couple I have met – we’ll send you 600, possibly more!”
    We were pretty freaked out – not ready to take on that much debt, looking at crappy little damp garden hovels in our price range east of nowhere…we left the city / country as did most of the talent from our graduating class. Vancouver is an awesome city as a student / single / lifestyle town, not a great family town – at least not for most honest wage earners.
    We now have two kids, good jobs, awesome place with yard, good schools, amenities, and oh yeah – sunny warm weather all year long. We left Vancouver – easier than I had thought it would be, and having lived through 4 years of a real estate melt where I live now I can honestly say it saddens me to see the social train wreck Vancouver is heading for.

  25. What I find hilarious is that when property taxes go up 10% (a whopping $400-500 for most) , the same folks who are drunk on their house (that has gone up $400,000) will cry bloody murder and plead poverty.

    It’s like buying a $100,000 Mercedes and then whining about gas prices.

    At least have some class and suck it up when your taxes rise.

  26. thanks for your well considered comments MJW
    I agree that there are problems here, and it’s mostly an immigration issue. Immigration is a blessing and a curse. Yet I don’t think any federal governing party has the stomach to address the issue, especially not our current regime.
    Another remedy for Vancouver affordability is quite simple. If wanting to raise a family here the choice for a family home is a detached house with property and not much else. Developers are permitted to only offer housing that is not appropriate for a family. The City needs to legislate that each project have at least 35% of their units that are 3 bedroom and at least 1300sqft in size. When you give families an alternative to a detached home, the price of that more expensive alternative will come down. But these are just my thoughts as a troll, drunk, fool, etc.

    • You wouldn’t be treated as a troll, a drunk, or a fool if you didn’t come out swinging and you read what people were saying in good faith and with your ears open.

      If your stats are correct and there is a 5% decline in public school rates during increased private school enrolment, well, that does suggest gentrification of the families in the city. Which is what the original poster was concerned about.

      So if you are shocked to find that there are architects and professors who feel that they are part of the class of people being moved out, it’s a failure of your own imagination, comprehension, or understanding of non-wealthy white collar workers are at.

      A two professor family might be making $200K/year, or $80K/year, depending on tenure, etc. PhD folk have spent years in school: if you graduate at 28 even without student loans and want kids, you’ve got a biological incentive not to spend years monkeying about climbing that property ladder. But even non-new-grads aren’t necessarily going to think Vancouver’s possible: my in-laws are a near-retirement two professor family with other real estate wealth and think housing prices in Vancouver are too steep for their situation.

  27. I agree with the sentiment of this post. I have set a date of March 2012 for departing Vancouver.

    • im targeting end of summer.
      even if housing pops before then, it’ll still be a long ride to the bottom.

  28. Interesting observation: of my friends, it is either artists or the white-collar/professional folks of childbearing age who are most challenged by the market and are looking at moving elsewhere.

    My more typically blue or pink collar friends and acquaintances, those who never really had an expectation of ownership, tend to blow it off. They shrug, say “oh, well, if we won the lottery”, and go about their business. Until recently there hasn’t been that much destabilization of the rental market; I’ve only recently heard grumbling in families who’ve been forced to move more than once due to flip/sale/reno.

  29. Anecdotal support for the 25-45 age group leaving. Two couples we know headed to Ontario since 2008 citing cost of living/raising a family. We lose another set of friends next year. A friend of ours (doctor) chose to not move to Vancouver (chose SK instead), also cited cost of living for the reason to avoid Van (although all parties still love to vacation here….)

    My spouse and I are (both 30 yr old engineers) and are formulating our exit strategy for 2013 to work as expats (South America??). High cost of living, low salaries (comparatively) and six months of rain are the driving factors.

  30. Apparently I like to use brackets in my comments (apologies).

    [hahaha (we like brackets, too). -ed.]

  31. I don’t see any excuse to be rude and disrespectful.
    Reap what you sow

    • You must be talking about yourself, troll.

      • doesn’t calling someone a “troll” define troll behavior?

      • “doesn’t calling someone a “troll” define troll behavior”
        Nice try.
        Keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again and ignore everyone who debunks your crap again and again. You troll.

  32. left already

    [Advisory/Caveat: The following comment/anecdote purports to be written from San Diego but actually hails from a local IP address… an address that, co-incidentally, was also the source of comments questioning the veracity of another anecdote (where we had argued for that anecdote’s veracity). So, we don’t want to appear overly suspicious, but it is hard to not conclude that this story is possibly a test of our gullibility. Otherwise, judging purely by it’s content, it’s a story that could well be true. Not sure if $3M gets you 42 apartments in San Diego, though. – vreaa]

    Hello Raincouver from sunny San Diego. I hope you are having good weather up there. Here is my story.
    I moved to Vancouver from Holland 3 years ago because my wife’s family lives there and many of my friends and family also.
    Planning to buy a business, house and settle. We had approx 10million CAD in cash. After looking at all possible businesses for sale for two years, we realised that there was really no opportunity to buy smth decent with cap rates higher than 3 to 4% same as what our money was earning on a savings account (most businesses were franchises, restaurants and other retail).
    We rented for 2 years thinking that the RE prices will fall to reasonable levels.
    It was not so much that we could not afford it but having come by our money the hard way, we realised that there was really not value in paying 1.5 million to live in very ordinary poorly build house. Weather was not so much an issue for us are we are used to rain and we really did not have bad whether the two years we lived there. The summers were beautiful, we liked it so much.
    Last year we decided to invest in the sates and moved here on an investor E2 visa. We bought an apartment building (42 apparts for 3 million USD) with a cap rate of 6.5%. The same building in Vancouver would cost 6 to 8 million.
    And since we are here, I can tell you that once you get used to the San Diego sunshine, you can hardly dream of another place.
    We just bought a house four ourself ( 860 000USD) with swimming pool and ocean view, lots of oranges in the garden, they are ripe and sweet now. Unbelievable how far the money goes here compared to Vancouver. Evth is cheaper. Vancouver is a total rip off anyway you look at it. I will never regret the decision to leave.
    I am so amused checking from time to time the blogs that helped me so much understand RE craze in vancouver and feel sorry for the people waiting on the sidelines.
    I wish you good luck and hope things return to sanity sooner in the rainy city.

  33. left already

    [See editorial advisory in comment above. – vreaa]

    Ah, I forgot the best, having worked for 27 years as an electro-mechanical engineer in Holland and having registered 7 patents during this period, and managed countless projects around the world, I thought I might get a part time consulting job in the industry , mainly to do smth useful and not get bored rather than to make money.
    To my surprise no body recognised my credentials, I had to be registered to practice engineering there, and to do that is going back to school, pass all exams again, and once you do that you have to be coached for about 3 to 5 years by another professional engineer, almost mission impossible. I was stunned. It was the same thing for my wife , architect graduated from one of the most prestigious schools in Europe. Impossible to practice here.
    Now, when you look at all the architectural junk that Vancouver is filled with, I really dont know were they get those creative architects / designers…

  34. CanuckDownUnder

    Uhh, more HAM excuses. There’s two reasons the Australian market has been falling since last May. One is the cumulative effects of seven rate rises by the RBA from the all-time low of 3%, the other is the removal of excessive home buyer grants that the government introduced during the GFC. These actions postponed the bursting of the bubble but the stock of greater fools has been exhausted and sentiment is turning.

    Why would you leave the place you’ve lived all your life just because of a housing bubble? You can always sell, then rent and wait for the inevitable correction.

  35. If we have a new upper class in Vancouver, than why isn’t our economy showing it? Even the best shopping streets have empty storefronts, our unemployment is the highest in years, and no real stats show a significant increase in income. I don’t buy it.

  36. In the last few weeks, its become apparent to me that the HAM argument is gospel now in Vancouver. I no longer bother to dispute it IRL. Its like trying to argue against leprachauns. I can’t prove that they don’t exist. At the same time, the media and rumour hold HAM to be true.

    Whether HAM is a myth or not, it influences our market big time.

    • CanuckDownUnder

      Have you noticed that the initial source of any HAM anecdote is always a realtor? It’s always “so-and-so realtor has said that 90% of all sales in XXX neighborhood are mainland Chinese.” When you push for any meaningful statistics to back up the anecdotes there aren’t any. It’s just a tactic to drum up fear and get people to buy based on emotion instead of reason – buy now or be priced out by Chinese money forever.

      The reason that HAM became such an issue in Australia is simple – Australians are very racist. Rather than blame themselves for buying into a credit-fueled bubble it’s easy to look around, see a lot of Asian-Australians trying to buy into the Aussie dream, and paint them as mainland Chinese.

    • Mike,
      Whether HAM is true or not is irrelevant. What matters are sales. They continue at record levels in Vancouver.
      Its like your trying to prove the shortage and higher price of green beer on leprechauns, all the while ignoring that green beer is being consumed at current prices by some creature…leprechaun, human, or alien. Does it really matter if leprechauns or aliens exist?

  37. Canuckdownunder,
    Go travel around Kits, point grey a bit. Visits the shops, cafes, community centres, etc. If you have lived and done business there you’ll see that the demographic has changed, you don’t need to borrow a realtors eyes to see this. Where these asian dwellers came from I am not sure. They could have moved from east Vancouver for all I know. But there are showing up on the westside in droves these past five years. Prior to about 2003 I rarely saw an asian face on the westside, and if I did it was a local who was born here and speaks English

    • CanuckDownUnder

      Sorry, I will amend my original comment. The initial source of any HAM anecdote is always a realtor or someone who has confessed to being all in on Vancouver real estate.

  38. pricedoutfornow

    I would argue with this comment “there is no future in Vancouver for the next generation (unless one is off-the-scale rich)….” and replace it with (unless one wants to incur off the scale debt). I know many who are doing this, taking on massive amounts of debts in order to buy that house in the city. Plus taking on several international students and basement tenants. All to own a house in this city. Unfortunately, the line of credit eventually runs dry, the credit cards are maxed out and there is only bankruptcy to consider. This is what I believe will happen here (I don’t buy the “rich foreigners” argument). Given what is happening in the rest of the province (falling real estate prices, more people approaching bankruptcy), I don’t see it NOT happening here. It has to happen here too, we are not special, we will run into problems with our debts too. And we may find out that the guy next door we thought was a “rich foreigner” is just as indebted as the rest of us.

  39. @ Caunuckdownunder
    Real Estate Board owns the stats. Who else besides a realtor or rep of the board would you except this information to come from? I think you’re looking for a bear angle to the wealthy Chinese buyer story; there isn’t one.

  40. @ pricedoutfornow
    where is the proof that buyers of detached homes are taking on debt they cannot afford? Or that they’re filling their homes with students and tenants? Your observation of “knowing many” is just anecdotal. If buyers could not afford wouldn’t it show up in the sales prices? Wouldn’t prices come down to the market’s affordability level? Proof of affordability is in the sales price, you can’t argue much with that.

  41. ps
    There is good debt and bad debt. Mortgage debt is the best debt you can have. If you shun all debt at all costs you never buy a home.

    • rusty -> Saying ‘Mortgage debt is the best debt you can have’ is fallacious… it only appears like ‘good’ debt during periods of house price increase.
      It’s remarkable that anyone can still make such a statement while we have such ready access to so many recent stories, from so many parts of the world, of people being completely destroyed by their mortgage debt.

      The point is that leverage works great on the way up, and absolutely horrendously on the way down.

    • rusty I recommend I recommend you read some stories from the USA, Ireland, Spain, Japan … etc!

      Mortgages are the worst invention, I happen to have seen the effects of mortgages on a country which until recently did not have a mortgage market. Before the introduction of mortgages apartments cost about 40 to 50K for 1000 sqf and people were saving up money for them and paying for them cash. now the same apartments go for 130K only difference is mortgages increased the demand for the same housing stock. Banks are the only winners when mortgages are introduced especially when the banks are backed by government housing agency!

      I for one would support a true 100% market solution starting by getting rid of all government institutions that distort the market starting with the CHMC and too big to fail banks. lets see if real estate continues to be such a casino if that was the case.

  42. vreaa,
    it’s a good think real estate in this country is up most of the time. Makes good debt even better

  43. ams
    your position is a renters position, aka glass half empty. Most of us live in the real world, aka not 50 years ago

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s