“I convinced my brother – a doctor in Vancouver – to NOT upgrade his accommodations. I said, don’t you think the fact that you – a doctor – is afraid of getting priced out means that something is very wrong?”

Anotherlowlyrenter at greaterfool.ca 17 Jul 2011 11:17pm
“I convinced my brother – a doctor in Vancouver – to NOT upgrade his accommodations. He owns a 2 bedroom condo and had been considering buying a house. Not that he can afford it. Homes are too pricey even for doctors. I said, don’t you think you have enough $$$ exposure? He said, but what if I get priced out? I said, don’t you think the fact that you – a doctor – is afraid of getting priced out means that something is very wrong with this picture. Besides, who is going to price you out? Incomes in Vancouver are well less than incomes in Toronto, yet prices are 3 times as high. He sez, but what about the Asians – they’re coming aren’t they? I said, well they have been coming. But what if they stop coming? Or maybe they sell too, once the bubble starts to deflate. Asian “investors” are pretty good at riding a trend up – and they’re good at selling on the way down. Besides, if Vancouver becomes a place that doctors can’t afford to live, then maybe you better ask yourself if this is the kind of city you want to live in . . .”

36 responses to ““I convinced my brother – a doctor in Vancouver – to NOT upgrade his accommodations. I said, don’t you think the fact that you – a doctor – is afraid of getting priced out means that something is very wrong?”

  1. “if Vancouver becomes a place that doctors can’t afford to live, then maybe you better ask yourself if this is the kind of city you want to live in”

    Amen. And thank god for glassdoor.com, so we can easily figure out what cities we can afford to live in.

    • I second the vote for glassdoor.

      I use anotherlowlyrenter’s argument all the time with friends and family. Sometimes the message gets through, sometimes it doesn’t.

    • Royce McCutcheon

      It really is this point that needs to be hammered home in conversation with people who haven’t really thought about the true costs of this bubble. I’ve encountered the entitlement/”no one owes you a home” argument a few times now – and I think it’s a fair (albeit shortsighted) point to raise. First, I respond by pointing out that I could care less whether anyone agrees with my take on Vancouver real estate or not – I KNOW I’m coming out ahead in terms of finance and quality of life by renting now. It truly ISN’T about wanting a house and not being able to get it; all things being equal (which they aren’t), at this point in my life I’d rather RENT anyways.

      But I always follow this by asking folks justifying the current market (Asians! No more land! Always a good investment long-term!) what they would do if they were a young professional today – maybe someone whose services are important to a functioning society (and therefore in demand everywhere). Knowing that buying ANYTHING here would demand unhealthy portions of often-less-than-the-national average pay, what would you do? Would you blame someone in that position for looking elsewhere? I then tell them firsthand stories of health care professionals passing on this town based on the ridiculous cost of living (it IS happening).

      I’ve found that this usually clicks pretty well, especially with true believer Boomer types who’ve ridden prices up for decades but who are also VERY concerned about health care going forward. These conversations quickly steer to broader societal costs and the type of city that’s left if key jobs aren’t filled and how this is a sad circumstance because it’s being driven by the simple fact that young people aspire to something better than a 2 bedroom condo that eats up over half their take home pay. I think I’m getting a rep as a bit of a downer, but I’ve also found that my take is resonating with some people more and more. It’s way too late to avoid pain, of course. But maybe it’ll help take some of the fight out of people who will demand “help for families” as the market corrects.

  2. This is so funny I couldn’t resist… and here’s a prediction, when “Armando” eventually deigns to visit Vancouver the YVR RE ‘goat’ will well and truly be fully ‘toasted’. [Note to ED: DashCam classic]

    “My name is Armando… Armando Montelongo!”…


  3. I know a Dr who just bought a 1.2M strata unit. I guess not all Drs feel they need to buy a detached home – and some are more confident than others.

    • Hi Rusty I got an educational program worth you time to watch Niall Ferguson’s Civilizations Part 3 (Property Rights) comparing the development of North America and South America and relating that to access to property.

      Rusty as a citizen of Vancouver do you want to see Vancouver more like this http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/07/25/hongkong.coffin.homes/index.html

      It seems to me that your vision about Vancouver is that I have property and I can pass it to my children so I am okay and everyone else is a just whining and not willing participate.

      What your missing is that you will end up leaving your kids property in a very undesirable city should things keep going the way they are with business and professional avoiding Vancouver. What makes a city is not real estate it is the people that live and work there.

      Rusty please tell us where you see Vancouver going?

    • I guess this is the internet version of “Let Them Eat Cake”

  4. ams,
    Are you for real? Comparing Vancouver real estate to class war? Citizens are not chained to Vancouver, in fact, most people have options elsewhere but they DESIRE to own here. The key word here is “choice” – you choose to live here therefore you choose not to own. It’s a big country with huge open spaces ams. Go find yourself a nice chunk of it

  5. Dr. Who emerges from his new YVR ‘strata’ (well, it was all he could afford – he’s only a Dr., you know)… Evidently, it’s in Yaletown.


  6. Rusty it seems you did not get what I am trying to says, my point is not about class warfare, that term was not yet invented when “Let Them Eat Cake” was uttered. My comment is about you are not realizing that your financial well being is tied to financial well being of all those around you.

    My point is that without a growing economy you will not see real estate prices continue to rise, without everyone else doing well you children will not be able to do well.

    All the nice things you like about Vancouver are created by the people who used to live in Vancouver or are living here now. Vancouver will not be the same place that you know today if real estate continues to be unaffordable even to people who earn above average income.

    Rusty you have made predictions that Vancouver real estate will continue to go up in price so please tell what kind of city do you see Vancouver being in 10 years to 20 years in real estate prices rise for the next 20 years as you predict will happen.

  7. “My point is that without a growing economy you will not see real estate prices continue to rise, without everyone else doing well you children will not be able to do well”.

    We live in a capitalist society with social classes. If everyone is equally prosperous we call it something else…communism

    • Seriously, Rusty, can we please make a clear distinction between capitalism and feudalism? When barriers other than ineptitude prevent people from accessing levels of wealth that others have “locked in” and receive for litlle labour or ability, … what do you think is the long term prognosis for such a society? What does history say?

      “hungry people don’t stay hungry for long.” Good luck behind your razor wire and armored car when you are trying to enjoy your New Vancouver.

    • Do you want to be more like Sweden or more like India?

      In New Dehli the wealthy employ guards with guns to guard their homes.


      • … and do you know how much holiday the Swedes get – and parental leave?

        quite a different take on quality of life vs greed than North America!

        (not that there aren’t greedy people in Sweden)

    • “We live in a capitalist society with social classes. If everyone is equally prosperous we call it something else…communism”

      Whats your obsession with social classes, BTW in communism there are classes too those who are in the party and those who are not. The issue is not with classes.

      The point rusty is that you depend on thousands of other people who also live in Vancouver for you to enjoy the life style that you have, and to think that your family’s long term well being is independent of the well being of the society that you live in you are mistaken reading a few history books might show you that you ignore the society around you at your own risk.

  8. ‘Rusty you have made predictions that Vancouver real estate will continue to go up in price’

    I’ve made no such prediction. I oppose the predictions of calamity

    • Rusty so please describe what you expect Vancouver to look like 10 years from now.

      Rusty “I’ve made no such prediction. I oppose the predictions of calamity” so I take that to mean that you reject calamity therefore the future is either more of the same which means continued rise in prices year in year out or much better which means what exactly?

      Rusty what are your expectations about RE market in Vancouver?

  9. Heard an economist today say the U.S. could see a Great Depression, not just a double dip recession. If that happens, the North American economy, housing included (Vancouver too) will collapse, again. The markets, American dollar is fragile right now. All you guys think Vancouver is immune to this stuff, keep dreaming.

  10. Royce McCutcheon

    You know a doctor, huh?

    I work in health care research. Each week I interact with dozens of local physicians and researchers. The stories that help inform my views come from being plugged into both the medical and medical resident communities here. I am familiar with recruitment issues being faced by mulitple hospital and university departments, particularly as they pertain to drawing in people who AREN’T already financially established in this city (whether these are established medicos from other places or new local people trying to establish themselves). Every sawbones and specialist who didn’t start here a long time ago and ride the bubble upwards is wondering WTF it takes to get established in this city – and whether trying to do so now is worth it. Many of these people aren’t putting down roots. That these people aren’t committing to our community should concern people.

    But you know a doctor.

  11. Royce,
    you know my profession so you know how many Drs I work with everyday. This particular Dr happens to be a relative.
    And if your “sources” tell you it getting hard to attract Drs here – then why did BC attract a record number again this past year? I’d say you’re anecdotes don’t match what is actually occuring. Hard to recruit? Give it a rest pal.

    • Royce McCutcheon

      Are… are you serious? Did you read past that headline? Do you realize that the physicians tasked with helping plan BC’s physician workforce – including the MD interviewed for that article (someone I know, FWIW) – are saying that head counts are a pretty lousy metric for determining the strength of our medical community and that all is NOT well going forward? Do you realize that Vancouver ≠ BC? Do you honestly think a swipe like suggesting I have “sources” instead of a wide array of colleagues and friends in this field giving me their direct opinions does ANYTHING besides indicate that your debating skills lie maybe one cut above mooning for rebuttal?

      I too know MDs who remain bullish on real estate. They’re just like every other Boomer I know who rode the decades-long property bubble up. How long has your relative been practicing? Was s/he in the housing market before, say, 2002? If yes, then s/he doesn’t fit who I’m talking about. Many NEW doctors – the folks meant to look after the Boomers – aren’t sure if/how they’ll stay here. And stellar would-be recruits with established medical reputations – and sometimes even strong ties to the area – are turning down chances to return because the cost of living is so high and Vancouver salaries often fall below what exists elsewhere. I assure you: this IS happening.

      • pricedoutfornow

        Sure, we may license a record number, but I had 2 (new) doctors move away on me in the past 5 years. I don’t blame them.

    • Do you even read the shit you post?

      The article says that BC LICENSED a record number. Not that a record number moved to Vancouver.

      Perhaps medical schools had large graduating classes. Perhaps doctors oare moving into the parts of BC that you turn your nose up at.

      The article does not support your bullshit argument and certainly does not change that you were fully pwned by Royce.

      You are as worthless a troll on this forum as you are on others.

      Fail. Again.

  12. Well, if I was a Dr. from SouthSudan, Vancouver’s higher housing costs nowithstanding, I’d probably migrate too… Do you have ANY idea how expensive brides are these days!!!

    [Bloomberg] – Cows-for-Bride Inflation Spurs Cattle Theft Among Mundari in South Sudan

    “Emmanuel Gambiri said an educated wife in his cattle-herding Mundari tribe in South Sudan costs 50 cows, 60 goats and 30,000 Sudanese pounds ($12,000) in cash. At that price, some men who otherwise can’t afford a bride turn to stealing livestock in order to buy a wife and gain status, said Gambiri, citing a friend who is now a cattle rustler. A surge in “bride price” has fueled cattle raids in which more than 2,000 people are killed each year.”…


    PS – Now that I think of it, there may well be a better explanation for ColumbieBrittanique’s missing livestock than ‘natural predation’!

    • thanks for this – that’s insane – 400 cows for a bride?? jesus i can’t even afford a sudanese wife 😦

      • It’s depressing ain’t it, ‘O GreatKeeper? Still, that was the going rate for an “educated” SouthSudanese wife – have you considered a less expensive/more modest, ‘starter wife’?

        In other news, ‘entrepreneurial’ solutions (aka modes ‘o adaption) to the LML’s higher housing costs continue to abound…

        [CBC] – Vancouver cop caught dealing pot apologizes

        “A former Vancouver police officer who was caught selling marijuana in the city’s Downtown Eastside spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday. Peter Hodson, now 32, was arrested and fired from his job last year following a two-month investigation. He has pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking marijuana and two counts of breach of public trust.”…


      • the avg price is 100 cows but this Sudanese wife is from Vancouver 😉

    • Giving away 150-400 cows to get one back? Bad investment.

  13. nobody you know

    Brother in law is a doctor, wife is a nurse and they didn’t even consider Vancouver when he started his practice a few years ago, even though most of their family lives in or near there. They worked too hard for too long to settle for a $1.2M 1200 sq. ft. stucco box in a shitty neighbourhood.

    So they’re a few hours away and loving it. No traffic, low cost and high standard of living and a great house that will be paid off in less than 10 years. They don’t miss the lower mainland at all.

  14. Rusty,

    How many docs you know make the annual income required to purchase a home on the west side with a standard mortgage? http://bit.ly/ruyhPm

    Once you figure that out go here and see how accurate your predictions are. http://bit.ly/o8WrxD

    If there is not a significant correction, I wouldn’t want to grow old and crusty in my rusty house here…health care and the rest of our society will suffer.

  15. I’m sort of in the same boat as this doctor – not buying despite solid income. My wife and I are both young pharmacists originally from Vancouver. We are currently in Australia but tossing up the idea of NOT moving back to Vancouver simply due to the high cost of living. If two well paid professionals can’t afford to move to Vancouver who can?

    Can the region afford to lose highly skilled (healthcare) talent? Only time will tell how this all turns out for Vancouver.

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