‘The Province’ Runs Three “Avoiding Vancouver” Anecdotes

Victoria Schmidt of Vancouver walks to class Thursday on the campus of McGill University in Montreal. She says the high cost of living in Vancouver may prevent her from ever returning.

The $200 monthly rent that Victoria Schmidt pays to share a big, rambling old house not far from university in Montreal has given the Vancouverite a taste of low housing costs and may keep her from ever returning to her hometown.
“My friends who live on The Drive [in East Vancouver] pay $500 to $600 each to share a basement suite – for three people and a mouse problem,” said the 21-year-old McGill education student. “Here, you could pay $300 to $350 for a perfectly reasonable apartment about six kilometres from downtown.”
After she graduates this term, she plans to take a couple of years off to save some money to continue working toward a postgraduate degree.
And she’s already decided to live in Toronto, where the average two-storey house last year was worth $630,000, rather than return to Vancouver, where it would cost more than $1 million to own a single detached house in her parents’ Kitsilano neighbourhood, where she grew up.
“I pay significantly less here. My quality of living would drop [if she lived in Vancouver],” she said. “I’m able to live here and save money.”
And she also worries that she will never be able to own a house in Vancouver when she is ready to settle down and raise a family.
“I don’t know what it’s going to look like in 10 years,” she said.
“I wonder if she’s ever going to come home,” said her mother, Diana Schmidt.
She said she looks to all three levels of government to find a solution to the problem of high prices.
“I don’t think we have to accept it. We need to come up with a way to deal with it,” she said.

Christina Hughes, with son Charlie and partner Brendan MacIver, says they have no choice but to move to another province if they don’t want to rent for the rest of their lives.

Christina Hughes, 23, and her common-law husband, a 25-year-old construction tradesman, live with their newborn in a Port Moody rental and the thought of having to come up with $50,000 for a 10-per-cent down payment just for a condo in the Metro Vancouver area, let alone Vancouver, is a daunting prospect.
The couple is considering moving, maybe to Alberta.
“I grew up here and my friends are all here, and my school, but we realize we may have to move unless we want to rent for the rest of our lives,” Hughes said.
“It’s cheaper in Alberta and there’s no [provincial sales] tax,” she said, noting some of their friends have moved.
“If we could get a $300,000 house there, the down payment would only be $15,000.
“It’s good that the province is doing so well. But it’s driving young people away. It’s no one’s fault. It just ended up happening.
“But to keep this group of young people from leaving and having no one left except wealthy people, that won’t be good for the province.”

Kris Taylor is moving to Powell River because ‘it doesn’t make sense’ to stay in Vancouver.

Kris Taylor said he’s already made the decision to move to Powell River because he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to afford to own a home in Metro Vancouver.
“It just doesn’t make sense to stay here,” said Taylor, who has a school-age son and rents in New Westminster.
He says he would need $50,000 for a down payment here but could get a house in Powell River for $70,000.
“Right on the beach or near the beach,” he said.
Taylor – who’s fortunate that he can work from home as an investment consultant and says he earns more than the average – said he can’t see how someone working at Starbucks could ever own a place.
He said he understands the need for higher density neighbourhoods, but he doesn’t “like the idea of a condo to raise a family.”
“It’s not really the Canadian dream at all.”
He said governments have to devise a policy to create affordable housing for people like him.
“They’ve got to keep some housing for people who live here,” he said.
“You’re driving out the people who were born and raised here and replacing them with affluent people, but who’s going to serve those products and services to them?”

– These three anecdotes from ‘You’re driving out the people who were born and raised here’, by Susan Lazaruk, The Province, 22 Jan 2012. The article ends: “Have you fled Vancouver because of its high real-estate prices? Are you sharing housing because of it? Are you taking other steps to cope? Tell us how you are managing in the country’s most expensive real-estate market.”

[If anybody from ‘The Province’ is reading this, we suggest you check out the ‘Avoiding Vancouver’ sidebar category, for over 200 stories pertaining to people leaving Vancouver. Any VREAA reader posting a comment to the Province article, feel free to add that link. – vreaa]

Better late than never, perhaps.
Ask now what effect this is all going to have on our town?
The speculative mania in Vancouver RE has been present since at least as early as 2006, arguably identifiable as far back as 2002-2003. It has had severely detrimental effects on Vancouver, not least of which is to force people away, or to get them to avoid moving here in the first place.
Many prominent economic commentators and analysts from other centres have described our market as a clearly visible bubble.
Local media, ‘The Province’ very much included, have been stunningly silent in warning of the presence of the bubble, and, indeed, have largely been complicit in promoting its growth.
– vreaa

62 responses to “‘The Province’ Runs Three “Avoiding Vancouver” Anecdotes

  1. My posting name is not my real name, but I’ll tell you that thanks to this site and a deep dive into some realtor’s web pages, my wife and I have decided to take our $750,000 deposit money and seek fairer value — and potentially better jobs — elsewhere in Canada when we begin our search to return from Europe come the spring. So chalk three more (including our son) up to the number of people who are deterred from coming to Vancouver. A shame, cos I grew up on the North Shore, partly. But needs must!

  2. Renters Revenge

    The underlying theme in all three of these scenarios is that you have to buy a home if you want to be a real grown-up person. What is wrong with renting? Why is there such a stigma? “Homeownership” in Vancouver really is a cult.

    • Whether you like it or not, people generally view renting as “less” than home ownership – less grown up, less responsible, less affluent, etc. This is not a Vancouver thing, this is an all-over North America thing (Europe is different for sure, I can’t comment on Asia).

      You are renting for good reasons that are your own – why do you care what other people think?

      • Royce McCutcheon

        You’re right, of course. But I think it’s fair to take issue with and call attention to the phenomenon for North America you’ve referenced.
        The “buying is just what you do when you’re an adult” trope is, to me, even more insidious than the oh-so-tired “real estate always goes up long term” one. You and RR may have the presence of mind to look beyond your family and peers/the media/TV commercials on this issue, but many people don’t. And given that your tax dollars guarantee their mortgage loans or will be applied to any bailouts they might receive… I see a pretty big incentive to bang this drum – and loudly too!

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      Like in Victoria Schmidts story, even the rental stock in Vancouver is sub-par. Even if you are a renter, there are much better places than Vancouver.

      • Dunno. Cockroach invested holes exist everywhere, not just in Vancouver. In the end you get what you pay for. My rent is high, I guess, but I also have an unobstructed view of mountains and ocean and that does carry a premium.

        In the end I would say the low end of the rental market in Vancouver isn’t any different than the low end rental market in any other city I’ve ever lived.

    • Of course what many forget: They don’t really own a home, they own a mortgage.

      But try having a fact based / sane discussion with someone about this. It’s not gonna happen. People are somehow in utter denial about the cost of mortgage ownership and the perceived “cache” that comes with it.

  3. Renters Revenge

    The other theme is that the government should intervene and fix this with policy. What a horrid suggestion, government interference is what gave us CMHC and sloppy lending standards. We need less government interference in the property market, not more.

    • john mf'ing galt

      well, no, actually

      we need real policy changes that actually remove the aforementioned CMHC moral hazard and blah blah blah

      did you think that giant mess would take care of itself?

      is your son named Rand?

      • actually, i think you guys agree. by less interference, rr means reducing or eliminating cmhc’s role. eg. as it has been suggested elsewhere, if cmhc were privatized, it would represent a very significant undercollaterized counter party risk to the creditors holding mortgage paper. the lending spree would stop dead. the same for the boc and their role would be nice but that’s presently still too much of a sacred cow.

    • RR, agreed. The majority will never get it, though.

  4. Raise the target interest rate above 1%, mortgage rates go up, and the monthly payment (which is all shortsighted people care about) becomes unaffordable. Prices must then come down with so many more priced out. But it’ll never happen, so we hope it just implodes despite the Bank of Canada’s free money efforts to keep it inflated.

    • The banks set the rate based on their borrowing cost in the bond market.

      People are stuck at the BoC rate, but it has nothing to do with your cost of a mortgage. THAT will be a very hard lesson for many to learn as well, once Canada starts crumbling and real estate falling the banks will have to pay a premium to be able to keep getting fresh money in the market, either to refinance or to underwrite new mortgages.

      • Basement Suite

        That is theoretical mumbo jumbo and incorrect at that. People who claim that do not want mortgage rates to rise, so they try to dissuade pressure on the central bank to grow a pair. In mid 2000s the US Fed actually grew a pair and raised target rate, and mortgages climbed correspondingly. The housing bubble thusly was popped and they promptly lowered rates to 0, but too late to save the bubble. Mortages have fallen to an all time low there now. There IS a positive correlation between target rate and mortgage rates even if your economic model tells you it is not direct, it affects your bonds and mortgage rates both.

        If the BoC ever raises rates, mortgages WILL follow.

        LOTs of sources say this, here is but one.

        “Changes in the official Bank Rate then affect the whole range of interest rates set by commercial banks, building societies and other financial institutions for their own savers and borrowers. It will influence interest rates charged for overdrafts and ***mortgages***, as well as savings accounts. A change in the official Bank Rate will ***also*** tend to affect the price of financial assets such as bonds and shares, and the exchange rate.”


      • Basement Suite

        P.s. Here’s a Canadian one for you in case you think England is different.


        “Changes to the target influence other rates, such as consumer loans, ***mortgages*** and the value of the Canadian dollar.”

        Let’s not let the BoC off that easy please.

      • I think you seem to lack reading comprehension. The bank rate does not directly influence the cost in the bond market. They tend to do their own pricing. Yes, if they are lazy they take the BoC rate as a target, but the reality is that they will price the money according to the perceived risk. Even if the BoC does not raise the rate (and I can’t see them doing it right now), borrowing cost for the banks can STILL increase.

        Of course if that happens, the BoC has the option of opening a cheap line of credit towards the banks to keep the easy money rolling, I wouldn’t put it past them to be honest.

      • BOC will eventually do worse than that. Like the fed and ecb, they’ll monetize distressed the assets when this bubble goes upside down. The banks expect this and behave accordingly.

      • Basement Suite

        “I think you seem to lack reading comprehension.”

        I think you lack manners and have a high opinion of yourself, another wannabe internet economist. The bond thing was an aside, go debate that with the bank of England who disagrees with you.

        My point is mortgage rates. To say that the BoC or other central bank target rates do not influence mortgage rates is simple wrong. There is a pathway even if it is not DIRECT. There is evidence everywhere. Target goes up, mortgage rates follow afterwards, near every time. How blind or stubborn can you be in your simple theories. This is according to pretty near any source out there including the information published by the central banks THEMSELVES, not to mention HISTORY. The only ones who say central bank target rates do not affect mortgage rates are wannabe internet blog economists like yourself.

        Yes rates may rise in theory (unlikely though) even if the target stays at 1%, but if the target goes to 3% rates almost certainly will raise. A -> B even if B does not need A. The only reasons people debate this are either they have a undergrad degree in economics and want to look smart, or they want to dissuade pressure on the central banks to actually raise rates. I suspect you are in both camps.

      • Basement Suite

        P.s. Michael, I apologize for being over-reactionary in the first place. I think I insighted some bad feelings and I did not intend to, I think I probably started that without intending. This is obviously a hot topic for all of us. I think we can disagree without insults, I will try to myself.

    • Basement/Michael -> I think you guys actually agree:
      1. If the BOC rate goes up, mortgage rates are almost certain to rise.
      2. It is not necessary for the BOC rate to go up for mortgage rates to rise.

  5. Rates are not set in order to pop real estate bubbles. Without the low interest rates, the Canadian economy would suffer hardship not seen since the 1930s. No politician or Bank governor would like to see that – and so it won’t happen.

    The only realistic option is to inflate away the debt..

    • I don’t think we need a 1% target rate forever. 2% would ruin the country? I don’t think so. Some pain is inevitable, to continue to dig deeper to avoid any pain at all is what caused all this.

    • @Robert I agree with your assessment about creating hardship but I disagree with the proposed solution. for the following reasons.

      1) Inflation is punishing savers like me who have cash but don’t own a house, I have not participated in the housing mania so why should I suffer to bail out the bankers.

      2) Production manufacturing ecosystems are gone, or are disappearing, Canada is falling behind Asian countries in producing things of value be they physical goods, or software goods. Consumption is the lion share of the economy and the sector that has been growing in the past few decades. Inflation will kill consumption and thus the economy. And inflation is just delaying the deep political conversations that must be had about the structural issues in the economy that are causing Canada to be left behind. Without resources sector and the inflated debt Canada’s economy would be in big trouble. Using dug addiction as an analogy withdrawal is not the problem to be solved but drug addiction you can’t give a druggie more drugs to keep withdrawal away.

      So all options sucks, I would rather have 5 years of depression rather than 20 years of life support with the economy like Japan had. My primary reason for preferring 5 years of server depression is that it will create needed change to rejuvenate the economy, but the other option just means the there will be more corny capitalism, and corruption because the only industries making money will be doing so through government favour.

    • inflating doesn’t make the debt go away. only redistributes it. why not default and have that failure eliminate the offending entities? iceland did it – they’re already almost getting back to normal. ireland had a chance to do it – now wish they had. japan did the opposite for 30 yrs, end of kick the can road is almost on them.

      low rates to stimulate economic recovery = keynesian dogma, presently being discredited in eu, soon in japan, finally usa. choice is less pain now or more later. voluntary higher rates would mean taking it now. what’s popular isn’t always what’s right. boc can’t have an applause meter – why it’s better that it not exist at all. but, if you’re going to put someone in charge with that much power, they need to have strength to stand on principle. can’t be a wimp and pander to popular opinion, or worse.

      realistically, yes policy will be printing/inflation – not the just course, the consequence of weakness of character.

      ps. just saw iron lady. super streep, so-so film, thought they got most of the conservative message right – surprisingly

    • Inflating away the debt is not working. Setting interest rates well below the rate of inflation has simply encouraged people to take on more debt. We have a bigger debt problem now than when we started the low interest rate policy. And it will continue to get worse, until we hit some kind of mathematical limit, and then deleveraging will begin.

      Raising interest rates to start deleveraging from a lower level is a sound policy. The US did it. Australia did it. What is Canada’s plan B? Do we honestly think deleveraging can be avoided here?

    • Inflation is the ultimate silent crime. It punishes savers and people on fixed income (retirees, poor people on assistance, disabled on assistance). It also creates calculation and planning problems for producers and distributors. All that to reward irresponsible banks and debtors.

      If we get high inflation, I would like the government implement something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unidad_de_Fomento.

  6. Thanks for pointing out this article, VREAA. I penned a quick email to The Province this morning, letting them know I’d LOVE to talk to them. 🙂

  7. all three have one thing in common – anyone elese spot it?

    • Yep. All three parties recognize the bloodsucking insanity of the glorious BPOE. Moreover, all three feel the need to do something about it *now* rather than waiting for this pig to complete its crash. Is that what you’re referring to, Formula1? No?

    • They feel they’re ‘entitled’ to own a home in Vancouver?
      I applaud their plan to look elsewhere for a better quality of life. They owe it to themselves.
      I won’t worry about the proud homeowners of Vancouver. They know how to cry for bailouts if they need to.
      And I know how to say goodbye to Canada when that happens.

    • I believe Formula1 may be referring to the fact that all of them are white anglo-saxons. Though I’m not sure there is any significance to that. It would not be hard to find people of other backgrounds expressing the same sentiments. In fact I’ve seen it on the Internet many times.

  8. As far as I can tell, these folks represent a wide spectrum of Vancouver youth. We have a university student, a tradesman, and an investment consultant. How broad can you go?

    The only thing they have in common is wanting to have a life outside real estate obsession. The young lady in Montreal can focus more on her studies and not worry about rent. The investment consultant dad can spend more time and money on his son after buying a $70k home instead of having to work 2 jobs just to own a $750K East Van Vancouver Special. Maybe he even wants to use his basement as a man-cave for him and his son (quality time) instead of renting it out to strangers. The construction tradesman does not want to work on weekends. He would rather spend more time with his young family. Besides, if the real estate market were to tank up he would be the first one out of a job. At least one income can cover a $300k Calgary mortgage – its called foresight.

  9. The solution to high housing costs is not to move away from Van. It’s called renting. I’m optimistic that these renter will soon be buyers in the near future. Buying foreclosed homes from these current homeowners.

    • I have bene a renter in Vancouver since 2007 it sucks being a renter in Vancouver, you pay too much rent, for low quality rental, run by amateur landlords. Also my 100K down payment I have saved up means that I can take out a 10% down mortgage of some over priced property, well I can do better than that else where in Canada, so having a what many would consider a good down payment and still not having the ability to buy a house is frustrating, problem for me is that I am stubborn and am sticking to my principles I refuse to play the real estate game in vancouver under the current rules. So I am out Vancouver, moving back to Toronto, so Vancouver losses me, my wife, and 2 sons, and my small business. For my business Toronto is a much better place because I keep having to Fly to Toronto for client work because for the work I do Vancouver does not have enough clients companies. What drew me to Vancouver was the west coast active life style but this life style is too expensive, you need a family income of at least $250,000 per year to have a middle class life style in Vancouver. So I made the decision to get out of Van last Summer, we are expecting to be out of around the of March.

      • now imagine if vancouver were sovereign and could enforce controls on your capital and you get an idea of what’s coming down the pipe in many nations where the public spending and debt are spiraling out of control

    • I wouldn’t be thrilled to rent in this city, or at least not in most parts of it. Insane prices (from people trying to cover their mortgage), poor maintenance on most rentals and constant landlord-tenant wars. Plus the cost of living is still stupidly high…gas prices, food prices, basically anything here is overpriced for what it is. However, if I had to make the call, I’d rent rather than buy…at least until I could leave.

    • This is an old Vancouver conundrum, as I’ve said here many times before. The employment situation for professionals has been poor for decades and has pushed talented people out of the city long before high RE prices took hold.

      Vancouver is a playpen for adults, not a town for ambitious people. Almost anyone with a desire to succeed would benefit by leaving Vancouver for Alberta or Ontario.

  10. These people obviously need help if they think the right thing to do is to move out of Vancouver, the best place on Earth and not coming back. The only reason you would ever move out of Vancouver is so that you can buy and trade up the property ladder back into Vancouver. Otherwise, I think you need to be forced to seek psychatric help. How would anyone not sacrifice everything, including their first born, to live in Vancouver? 😛

  11. On a serious note, for people saying why not rent, here’s my latest experience trying to rent a place in Richmond that doesn’t involve basement or shared accommodations for my family of 3 (1 toddler).

    1 – Highrise condos near Canada Line – $1500 to 1800 for a 2 bedroom condo ranging from 700 sq ft to 900 sq ft, non-furnished. Also, most landlords don’t want a kid because well, they might draw on the walls which would require a complete repaint so no rental to us, or higher rent.
    2 – Townhouses which my wife prefers. Problem is most 2 bedrooms are over $1600 to over $2000. Cheaper townhouses under $1700 are not near #3 Road and easy transportation to downtown. Again here, no one wants small family with kids. Even students are preferred over us.

    Also a lot of rentals in Richmond are amatuer landlords. Here’s a funny story we had. There is a rental my wife really liked that we saw near end of Dec. We told the landlords we liked it and they are ok to rent to us for $1500/month. However we wouldn’t be moving in until Feb 1st so they wanted us to pay for Jan as well. We refused and they said ok, if we don’t find someone for Jan, we will contact you. My wife phone them around Jan 10th since she saw the ads posted again. They wanted us to pay for half of Jan’s rent, $750, since they could in theory find someone to start renting Jan 15th. My wife really wanted the place so she said I will pay $500. They said no, $700 is the lowest we will go. My wife got really pissed and say no. This past week we saw the ads posted again so I phoned up and the guy said ok, $1500 for us. So on Sat we arranged to go to the rental and check out the place, sign the lease. Once they saw it’s us again, the wife said “oh sorry, we wanted to rent to you but you never contacted us, you told us you would contact us!”. The guy said “oh so sorry, this place was just rented out, the renter is going to pick up the keys tonight! You are just 1 step too late!”. This is 5 minutes after telling me on the phone that they are at the rental place for us to view and sign the lease!!! Gotta give it to them to be able to tell the lie with such a smiling face.

    • won’t rent to family with kids = total morons. this is what real landlords want – some inclination towards stability, planning, responsibility. students typically less stable and can do a lot more damage than small kids. pets a different story, most landlords don’t want that but will accept grudgingly. sorry it has to be like that but try to steer clear of the amateurs. if it’s really just paint they’re concerned about, offer to cover it in the contract for main walls but not total. it’s not that hard, nor expensive. maybe look for realtor-owned, could at least screen out some of the wackier owners.

    • A few comments:
      1- you should have given up on that place as soon as they asked you to pay for rental before you could move in. I’ve never heard about anything like that and this is outrageous.

      2- avoid amateur landlords like the plague. I’ve done it once, will never do again. Professional property managers are much easier to deal with.

      3- if you’re concerned is to be able to commute to downtown, why not move to downtown directly. At the price range you were looking for, you could have found a similar/decent place for the same price. I personally pay $1,800 for a 900 sq.ft – 2Br condo in Coal Harbour (included are in-suite laundry, parking space and storage space), with nice views and close to everything . My lease is not even one year old. Oh, and I too have a toddler, they couldn’t care less…

      • A heartwarming story, Makaya. In a couple of years I will retire and bring my sack of cash earned in Calgary and rent in Makaya’s building for $1,800. The beaches, the seawall, delicious cheap eats, the music scene, and the glorious smell of cedar. I’m stoked.

      • Makaya, I heartily echo #1 and #2 above (don’t know much about the other issue). Also, thanks for all the good links you’ve been providing for so many weeks!

      • @armourb
        I was just pointing to the fact that the price asked for renting in Richmond was the same as what I pay in downtown. If you’re sarcastic comment means that it’s f… expensive to rent a decent place in Vancouver, I would totally agree with you. It hurts to pay that kind of money every month, but do you really have a choice in Vancouver?
        The reason why I rent downtown is pretty simple: with more daycare available there, I hope I will be able to get a spot for my son before he’s in age to go to school! More importantly, living in downtown allows me to not have a car. Trust me, that’s a big chunk of money that I save every month, on top of the commute time that is very minimal, which allows me to spend more time with my family. That’s a choice that would not fit everybody, but it works for me and my family.

      • There were definitely warning signs out of the gate. The lack of honesty of this landlord renders this otherwise desirable property untenable.

      • @Makaya lets crunch some numbers. Stats canada says median Family income in Vancouver is $67,550 in 2009 http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/famil107a-eng.htm I don’t think its much higher in 2012 but lets say its $70,000. according to this link http://lsminsurance.ca/calculators/canada/income-tax median after tax income would be $55,186. At $1800 a month per rent we have $21,600 which is 39.14% of take home income. I remember reading some where that 30% of family income should go to housing, anything above 30% will put a family in hardship.

        So even though my family income is way higher than the median income, every month we spend in Vancouver we are getting behind compared to other cities. I rent because Its makes better financial sense to rent in Vancouver but that does not change the fact that vancouver rents are too expensive.

        From a family budgeting perspective living in vancouver is making a choice between very expensive rent or insanely expensive ownership.

      • 1 – I can understand where they are coming from and we told them if they can find renters for Jan, then fine. However when we contact them near Jan 15th and they still wanted $700 for reminder of Jan, even though my wife actually offered $500, we were really pissed. Then the stunt they pulled this weeked. My wife was extremely pissed off and shocked that such people even exist. Oh well it’s their loss I think because I don’t think they will rent it out for Feb either. 🙂

        2 – We were only checking Richmond because we thought the prices would be much lower than downtown and frankly it’s not (at least for condos). As well my wife really prefers townhouses (ideally furnished) over condos in Richmond because our daycare is in Richmond and we don’t want to move our kids. My wife also has taking classes at VCC so living in Richmond makes the daily commute easier for her, especially in the morning. As well we want to get her parents to visit here so townhouse in Richmond also works out better, way less need for English to get around.

        Also, our budget is $1500 for rental max as we are a single income family so rent + daycare + car expenses is already eating up a ton of our income. We search for up to $1700/month because most Chinese landlord will negotiate the prices down about $100 or so. Most of the rental agencies/professional rental are not new places which is what my wife prefers (under 5 years).
        However if Richmond rental prices don’t drop, then we will consider other places.

      • @ams “From a family budgeting perspective living in vancouver is making a choice between very expensive rent or insanely expensive ownership.”

        I would actually add to that that Vancouver is a very bad place to raise a family. Not only the cost of housing is extremely expensive, whether you rent or own, but everything else is expensive (groceries, transportation, etc.).
        I was mentioning the daycare issue earlier. We currently live on my own salary, which is ok but risky if I ever lose my job. My wife would love to go back to work, but it’s simply impossible to find a daycare for our kid. When we applied, we were told that the wait-list was usually 1 to 2 years, but since there are priority rules, we may have to wait longer! We chatted with a mom about that recently and she told us that she waited 3 years to get a spot in daycare, which was too late anyway as the kid started pre-school. That’s ridiculous.
        For young family like us, this is a serious issue and we’re seriously considering moving out of Vancouver for that sole reason, even if we like it here. Not only are we giving up on her income, which would be very helpful, she’s also giving up on years of professional experience, opportunities, etc. Being forced to stay at home is driving her crazy, even though she really enjoys being with our kid. In my wife’s home country, you just have to call and they’ll take your kid. In mine, if you can’t find a spot in daycare, the government will subsidize a nanny coming to your place so that it doesn’t cost you more than daycare. I’ve heard that in Quebec, the cost of daycare is really cheap (this is one of the options we’re exploring)…
        Besides the insanity of the real estate market and the prospect of not being able to afford anything at a reasonable price, there are other issues that are driving people out of Vancouver. No wonder the interprovincial migration is negative for BC…

      • @Makaya

        Regarding you second post to me, my sons are 22 month and 4 weeks 🙂 Me and my wife were shocked by the costs of daycare at the waiting list, we tried to get added to a bunch of day car waiting lists but they simply said the waiting lists had 200 people on them and were not adding any more people to the waiting lists, which was crazy.

        The city of vancouver publishes a list of home day care nannies we have our son with great many she a total of three kids she baby sits at her home, it’s costing us $1100 per month for 4 days a week and we feel that we lucked out because he always comes back super happy as he gets to go to all the drop centres, playgrounds … etc I guess she can do that because she only has a couple of kids she is baby sitting.

        I have very detailed spread spreadsheets about cost of living in Vancouver in 2010,2011 yeah vancouver is very expensive.

      • @ams. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. Lots of happiness and sleepless nights ahead for you, but with a 22 month-old, you are probably still used to it 😉

      • @Vesta, actually just to add to this discussion. Your example of $55K+ take home pay for a family income of $70K just shows how much taxes I’m paying. I make more than the $70K on my salary but my take home is only about $50K, definitely not more than $55K! it’s no wonder why we always feel we are short of money even though my salary is above average/median family income in Vancouver.

        With regard to daycare, we can’t afford a daycare in Vancouver at all. We are currently putting our little one in a Richmond home daycare nanny for $750/month including lunch. It seems that home daycare is fairly competitive in Richmond and being Chinese helps. We couldn’t get into any of the daycares in Vancouver near our place without a 2 year wait list and the lowest cost was $1200 with no lunch or anything. Plus all the bad things we hear about diaper rashs and such, we decided it’s better to look after the baby at home. However it is a real sacrifice for the parent who has to stay home due to the big hit on the careers. That’s probably a big reason why women either have kids very late or not at all. The cost is just too huge.

    • Revenge should be easy enough. Just save the pictures & info before the ad disappears again. Then place your own ad at a really great price, giving the landlord’s phone number, and instructing interested parties to “PHONE ONLY BETWEEN 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.”

      Childish, mean, and possibly illegal. But they wasted your time and lied to your face, and therefore must be punished. 🙂

  12. Fascinating discussion here. I was very interested to see that two of the three people/families featured in the Province article said they think government ought to do something. Recently I told this blog about how my letter to the Federal Government wound up in the bosom of the CMHC (needless to say, their advice wasn’t helpful to me), and I also first got on this blog this summer urging people to write to City Council, Provincial officials etc. I understand more about speculative manias and market roles now, but I wouldn’t stop urging anyone with a spare minute to contact City Hall, Christy Clark etc. Make yourselves heard. I honestly think the rumblings I know are already audible are what have caught the MSM’s attention (I share the VREAA host’s incredulity about why the MSM is so behind on this issue. I had written a good journalist at the Sun months ago about the craziness that’s happening.)

    And about renting here: fascinating to hear other grim stories. I had also told this blog some months ago about our interesting travels through the Circles of Hell that are Vancouver rental markets. As this blog has pointed out, the speculative mania has destabilized the rental market here. My husband and I (ideal renters in some ways — middle-aged readers) encountered one amateur landlord after another whose answer, as I’ve said before, to our question “How long can we stay?” was “Depends on the market.” I.e., they were going to flip. I know two families with high-school and university-age students who have been forced to move at least once due to a landlord’s promising them a long tenure and then saying, “Well the market’s so hot I’m going to sell.” They both had a very difficult time (and they’re very nice families) finding other rentals. I would venture to say that renting here, between soggy basements and amateur landlords, is a nightmare for many.

    Space889, my husband and I also encountered a similar situation this summer. We found a place, but weren’t able to move as soon as the new landlord wanted us to (he proposed we move in ONE WEEK!). When we said it would take us a month, he bullied us about paying a “holding fee.” A what? We finally called the Residential Tenancy Board and they’d never hear of such a thing. This landlord was a “perfectly respectable” dentist.

    • As a follow up to my previous post, I’m fully expecting Space’s experience to be atypical in two years. People will be begging for solvent renters. Just like Calgary in 1982. Ha.

      • I wonder… I think real estate crashes reveal not only the solvency of soon-to-be and existing tenants but also the dirty underbellies of landlords’ financial health. I have doubts bear markets change inherently poor business practices into good, on both sides of the contract.

      • @j. inherently poor business practices don’t survive the bear market. that is its very essential economic function. to attempt preventing that (keynesianism) perpertuates the wrong behavior. party!

    • Well I guess they don’t want to miss out on Jan’s rent. They told my wife lots of people are looking so we said fine, you can rent to others but if you can’t find people for Jan then let us know. When we saw the ad after Jan 10, my wife call them again and she was willing to pay $500 to secure the place (not totally happy about it but at the time she really wants it) and they wouldn’t budge for less than $700 and that’s around Jan 13th. So my wife said screw this, I’m not going to pay for that and I don’t think they will find a tenant for Jan 15th.

      I guess they were really pissed off at us for not getting the $700 from us and us trying to avoid that by “prey” on them again near the end of the month. I guess their “face” is more important than the $1500 they are about to lose.

      My wife said it’s also because we only want to pay $1500 and they prefer $1600 so they weren’t that eager to rent to us. They want their $1600/month rent!

  13. The important thing is that it’s no one’s fault.


  14. I think it’s a joke the family median income is 67,000. Why would someone even want a mortgage earning that? What kind of a mortgage can you qualify for with that? Just looking at some sites you will pay over 3000 a month for a 500,000 mortgage with 15,000 down at 5 %. Crazy anyone could qualify for an amount that high.
    The %$#& has really hit the Van Re: fan with all this recent publicity that’s for sure!

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