“I thought if I sold my house in London, UK, I could buy a much bigger place in Vancouver. I had no idea Vancouver was so expensive.”

This exchange at city-data.com/forum/vancouver  1 Jun 2011, on a thread regarding Vancouver RE prices  [hat-tip Polly] –

LondonUSA: “Is it really that expensive in Vancouver? Is it talking about in the city or suburbs? Where I live [is] still technically in London but in the suburbs my house (4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms) would easily go for £450,000 if not more. If this was sold I could buy a much bigger place in Vancouver, I thought, exchange rate taken into account.”

rockerode: “yep. i just did a search for 4 bedroom 3 bathroom houses in vancouver, and the cheapest is £420,000 house in one of the less desirable locations in vancouver. you need at least £600,000+ for decent housing, otherwise you gotta rent.”

LondonUSA: “£450,000 is $720,000. I could buy but would not be able to sustain a reasonable living standard. I had no idea Vancouver was so expensive. Are theses places in the city or suburbs?”

33 responses to ““I thought if I sold my house in London, UK, I could buy a much bigger place in Vancouver. I had no idea Vancouver was so expensive.”

  1. Is it really more expensive across the board? or more unaffordable because incomes are so out of whack with prices. If it’s really more out-and-out expensive — that’s mind-boggling.

    I thought this was a amusing comment on that thread:

    “But Why?
    Can Somebody have any idea?

    Thanks”

    Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/vancouver/1282599-vancouver-pricer-than-nyc-london-now.html#ixzz1PIKJb8pq

  2. Ralph Kramden

    Anyone who buys in GVRD is insane. Certifiable. Check out the stats for average loss in say, oh, Sacremento USA on flippersintrouble.blogspot.com/ and it will give you an idea what Vancouver and area are in for. It is terrifying…69% losses at top end, not uncommon.

    Flying from Halifax to Vancouver on Monday, I was chatting with my seat mate, and he said that his small town on the South Shore – Mahone Bay, has seen a trickle of Chinese on the Bus Tour, looking at property.

    I told him it ain’t gonna happen.

    Take a look at the Province this morning – ” Chinese struggle to control rioting workers” – the inflationary bust is on in China…so here we go.

    Interesting anecdote for suffering Vancouver fans – most people in NS, even with close proximity to Boston, are all cheering for the Canucks.

    Let’s hope you get the Cup. I wish I was going to be here, but I am back on the Jet, and off to Thailand – and somehow I don’t think there will be a ton of Hockey on Thai TV – so thank goodness for my IPad – I can chase the video.

    • A good friend of mine from my university days is from the Mahone Bay, NS area. At least in the early 2000s, that part of Nova Scotia was full of vacation homes owned by wealthy New Englanders who saw it as a bargain compared to Cape Cod, Maine, etc. Not sure if that phenomenon survived the US financial fiasco.

  3. Dudes aren’t comparing apples to apples. Talking about a near-suburb home in London and compare to a $1MM “liveable” equivalent is getting confusing. Look at the cap rates.

    Actually, looking at the cap rates does shed some light onto the situation. A relative of mine in London stated to me that cap rates there are not good either, though there the renter pays the council taxes so need more info all-in. I’ll ping him to get the low-down on comparing London rentals to prices; he was in the market to buy a while ago so was running the numbers.

    • How can a city council enforce taxes against a penniless renter? At least, with the homeowner, they can seized the property.

      • They can send a collection agency after you. They will have your National Insurance Number (sort of like a SIN) and can trace you back to your employer.

      • Im talking about people who haven’t had a job in decades and have no money to be collected. There are lots of those in the dumpy parts of England.

      • If you can’t afford to rent, you will be evicted. On the other hand, the borough council will put you up in a council estate and pay you a very modest welfare cheque. It is very easy to survive in the UK as a poor person.

      • A better comparison is for a somewhat affluent renter, not some yob. I will ask for direct data for apples to apples.

        Since you guys know UK so well, how do prices compare to rents in middle class areas? What are the council taxes and repairs like?

      • My knowledge of London is from many second-hand accounts of friends and family. Its worth noting that everyone I’ve known who went there eventually came back. I think it has certain charms but it wears off.

  4. Vancouver consistently ranked in the top 3 cities in the world to live. London? Not even close. Vancouver is not a secret anymore – if you want to play here you gotta pay.

    • Nope. It’s called RENTING. See the previous post for discussion. Thanks for the laff.

      • Aldus Huxtable

        Matt,
        I’m not aware of many ‘third world shitholes’ with 90,000 seat stadiums, tube systems, domestic nation wide train systems, the eurostar train system, cheap flights to anywhere else in continental Europe that are hosting the summer Olympics. Let alone the amount of art, music, television, film and culture that is created in London.
        Perhaps you’ve only visited Brixton.

      • Aldus, I can already tell you’ve never lived in London. The tourist’s perspective is always going to be much more positive than an expat’s. Brixton, by the way, is awesome. If you’re 16 year old girl looking to get alcohol poisoning, please don’t leave the Notting Hell Carnival – where you belong.

    • The funny thing is that the people doing the ranking probably live in London and wouldn’t consider living in Vancouver. I wouldn’t if I had a good job in London. London is an awesome city. Vancouver? Not even close. A provincial backwater in comparison. And I’m sick of these “rankings”. They were really all about where the desirable places are if your company is going to send you there and pay for your accommodation. The implication that Vancouver can justify a high premium because it’s consistently ranked in the “top 3” is absurd. Things change. Vancouver is becoming more and more “unlivable” by the year.

      • London is a third world shithole. Try living there for an extended period of time and tell me how awesome it is when your north american standard of living is reduced by a couple stratum. The benefit to living in London over Vancouver is (well, was) the extremely vibrant economy and the calibre of work experience one can earn.

    • Aldus Huxtable

      Matt,
      I am an ex-pat and a dual citizen.
      Yours truly,

  5. 2007 – the US RE market is about to collapse… See similarities with Vancouver today?
    http://thehousingbubbleblog.com/?p=3394

  6. Matt,
    London is not a third world shit hole. I swear. I’ve lived in London for 30 years (mostly SE), and though the standard of living is not as high as Vancouver, there’s a hell of a lot more life there. As you say, a vibrant economy. But even in material terms, for the equivalent price of an ugly house in a boring part of Vancouver, you can get a great terrace home in SE not too far from Greenwich. Better than most Vancouver neighborhoods, I say. I don’t see how my standard of living has gained significantly since moving to Vancouver other than the fact that skiing is closer and I can afford to drive my car around more.

    • If we want to talk about standard of living – Seattle beats Vancouver in the sense that houses are much cheaper, and the housing stock is better (in general – larger houses with fewer structural problems).

      I’m at a loss to understand the argument that internationally people are paying these prices to live in Vancouver because the city is so fantastic. Seattle is almost a sister city it’s so similar — They are both regional cities with almost identical population numbers in the metro areas, water, mountians, pacific northwest lifestyle, same overcast weather, salmon, harbor seals, music, art, museums, nice library, major University and several minor schools, ect. Public schools in Seattle are good with IB programs. (And Seattle headquarters major corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, Starbucks, & Boeing (sort of).

      Anyways – I can definitely understand somebody liking one city over the other for specific reasons, but from an international point of view when examining livability they are very, very similar. The charms of Vancouver do not explain the price difference.

      • It’s easier for Commonwealth citizens to find work in the UK than it is to find work south of the border. Seattle is lovely and I would move there in a heartbeat.

    • You can seriously tell me with a straight face that you enjoyed living in Blackheath or Lewisham?

      London would be an amazing place to live if one were making at least 100k GBP annually. If you were earning the median London income of 28K GBP/year, I would call bullshit on being able to live like a civilised human being, at least by North American standards.

      I dearly miss the social aspects of living in London but you would have to pay me a lot of money to tolerate the trappings of a thriving social class system. No to mention the worst manners of any people in the western world.

      • Aldus Huxtable

        Now, considering a third of Londoners are born outside of Britain, would you consider that such an ‘amazing place to live’ has been massively changed by a huge influx of immigration? Is this not a problem Vancouver faces?

        Also, manners? Have you walked through the downtown core of Vancouver recently?

      • Yes, Lewisham! I did enjoy living there. Certainly not for the material benefits. Like I said, I concede that it’s a lower standard of living. You get better value for money in Canada, even Vancouver. But it’s still a good place to live, and certainly not a “third world shit hole”. And I don’t know what you mean by “not being able to live like a civilized human being” on the median wage. Anyway, to each his own. It may be hard to quantify, but my life in London was good, though modest. I’m better off in Vancouver, materially, but sometimes I feel the place just sucks the soul out of you. It’s like life on Valium.

      • Ah yes, the immigrant, the typical white briton’s excuse for why their island fortress has deteriorated into a shithole. Evan Davis presented a documentary last year where they gave a bunch of jobs typically performed by immigrants to some good white britons. Most of them didn’t show up on the first day.

        You are a lying sack of shit Aldus.
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jun/26/non-eu-immigration-uk-statistics

        When cameron and his cunty band of shitheads proposed limiting immigration to the UK do you know what business said? London would be a smouldering pile of ash if it weren’t for immigrants.

        From one british dual citizen to another, get the fuck out of canada. You aren’t welcome here.

      • Yo, matt, easy does it.
        This is a world class blog and we expect appropriate decorum. 😉
        Strip down your arguments to core principles and they are valid, and would read better.

      • Aldus Huxtable | 15 June 2011 at 2:39 pm |

        Now, considering a third of Londoners are born outside of Britain, would you consider that such an ‘amazing place to live’ has been massively changed by a huge influx of immigration? Is this not a problem Vancouver faces?

        Also, manners? Have you walked through the downtown core of Vancouver recently?

        LET IT BE KNOWN – 6 HOURS BEFORE IT HAPPENED – YOU WERE RIGHT

  7. “If we want to talk about standard of living – Seattle beats Vancouver in the sense that houses are much cheaper, and the housing stock is better (in general – larger houses with fewer structural problems)”.

    So for you, the sole determinant of quality of life is whether you can buy a home or not? Forget clean air, political stability, democracy, social services, etc. If this one dude can’t buy a home then we need to scrap it all. Only on these real estate sites do I hear such self-aggrandizing crap

    • I think Seattle is going to be ok for political stability,. In any case, as I said I can understand a preference for one city over the other. But in terms of daily experience, they’re pretty similar. Quality of living argument alone doesn’t explain the price difference.

      (btw – Regarding Matt’s statement, if you’re interested in going to Seattle you might want to send off your C.V. Don’t worry about the citizenship issue, particularly if you’re in IT. Both Amazon & Microsoft are hiring.)

  8. “I dearly miss the social aspects of living in London”

    Yeah I know what you mean. I have come to believe that one goes hand in hand with the other: poorer lifestyle, more meaningful social interaction. Vancouver has been different to all the other places I’ve lived in this aspect – it’s hard to describe even qualitatively, but it seems to lack a certain je-ne-sais-quoi in terms of vibrant social groups and hanging out with your mates. I honestly don’t know what the cause is, apart from the design of public and private space (lack of centres, pubs, squares, pedestrianised areas, mixed-use zoning, lack of density, too many roads) and perhaps the pub licensing laws (needs more “locals”).

  9. I have lived in Vancouver and seen the changes and the remarkable price hikes and have decided to leave and return once the housing market corrects itself and it will, to buy in Vancouvers west end would be insane I would end up leaving my child a mortage for an inheritance ! You can expect a correction of up to a sixty percent drop in the next couple of years as a looming finacial crissis in china rears its ugly head and as our own interest rates climb I would guess to at least ten percent within the next few years then I will return and swoop up a nice west end property and wait for the next boom its a nice place to live but to pay those pricesfor real estate and to pay the vastly overpriced prices to enjoy the ammenities the area has to offer ,skiing ect is beyond reason and anyone doing it is a sucker in my mind even if they are rich …A sucker is always a sucker ! BTW There will be very few people who will be bullut proof this time around as they were in 02 and 08 so beware all you high and mighty Vancouverites !!!

  10. Pingback: “To buy in Vancouver’s west end would be insane, I would end up leaving my child a mortgage for an inheritance!” | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

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