“I graduated from high school in this city in 1980 and out of the 300 members of my grad class no more than 25 of them now own a house in the neighborhood we grew up in. We are not all stupid and lazy.”

“I graduated from high school in this city in 1980 and out of the 300 or so members of my grad class I would say that no more than 20 or 25 of them now own a house in the neighborhood we grew up in.
We are not all stupid and lazy.
The laughable irony is that at the 30th high school reunion that almost all of the people present came from other areas of the Lower Mainland for the reunion.
One guy I know from my class who is a lawyer mentioned to me one day that he could never afford the house he grew up in, and his father now retired was a blue collar tradesman.
For him to ever get near the old neighborhood, well, someone’s gotta die first.
In fact that is exactly how some of my classmates are now moving back to the area they grew up in, but none of them will admit to that.
It’s just a big coincidence that they move back a few months after someone kicks off.
The guts of the middle class in this city have been ripped right out of it.
I know at least 18 people who have left Vancouver simply because they realized at some point that they were NEVER going to own a house here, and spending the rest of their lives in a over mortgaged rabbit hutch was not acceptable.
Many of them are now in Alberta.
I have read that 55,000 people under the age of 45 have left Vancouver.
Vancouver is the most over rated city on earth.
Like a Hollywood movie set where the street scene looks real, if you step behind the facade of the Vancouver illusion then things here are really quite ugly.
There are a lot of serious social problems in this city that no one wants to admit exist because the Vancouver illusion must be maintained at all costs.”

John H at greaterfool.ca 23 Mar 2012 11:05pm

24 responses to ““I graduated from high school in this city in 1980 and out of the 300 members of my grad class no more than 25 of them now own a house in the neighborhood we grew up in. We are not all stupid and lazy.”

  1. Renters Revenge

    I wonder if Vancouver will ever look like one of these places?

  2. I like Fred Herzog too but Vancouver is not that town anymore.

    Even if the boat comes close enough to shore for you to catch it, there’ll be different passengers dancing to different music.

  3. Let me play the devil’s advocate for a moment.

    Isn’t land values rising to infinity really the ideal outcome for anyone who grew up in Vancouver? The riff-raff from other areas of the world can’t afford to move here. The rich foreigners can afford to move here, but that’s OK, they won’t bother you too much — they live in their own isolated communities. And so you’re faced with two choices

    (1) Your family cashes out and sells their property to rich foreigners, in which case great: you’re collectively rich!
    (2) Your family keeps all the property in the family, in which case great: you can continue to live in the city you grew up in, and plus the exclusivity of your neighborhood has gone up!

    Both of these choices sound pretty great to me.

    The only unfavorable outcome is:

    (3) Your ancestors cash out spends all the money on themselves, leaving you homeless and destitute.

    The only problem with this outcome is not that housing prices rose to infinity, the problem is that your ancestors were stingy bastards.

  4. Cue F1 to say any of the followings:
    1 – Your classmates are lazy and stupid, who didn’t get in on the RE ladder while they were cheap, cheap, cheap in the 80s.
    2 – Vancouer is the best city on Earth and for every 1 person that leaves, at least 2 more come in and take over.
    3 – Those leaving are stupid and they will never ever buy back in Vancouver again, they gave up their spot in BPOE for nothing.

    Actually a lot of my classmates still live/have houses in the neighborhood they grow up in, assuming they stayed in Vancouver to work. Some even upgraded to more even more westward west side houses. But then their parents are all stinking rich and came over during the HK and Taiwan migration wave. Most of foreign students I know don’t own a house, most live with roommates during school, and struggling to find work here. Best of all, a lot of them wonder where the hell do people (here or from mainland China) get money to buy all those houses!

    • You forgot about “supersaturation” Space. And we must not forget the unique Vancouver “stew” of housing stock, building regulations and SFH-obessesed immigrants.

      It’s different here.

    • But houses were cheap in the 80’s. East side homes especially were quite a good deal. False Creek was a giveaway as was Fairview slopes and only desperados moved to live in Surrey where a sfh could be had for 50K. We just never thought the prices would rise so far without ever relenting. Nobody saw that coming. By the time all the kids of the eighties got organized with a down payment, a marriage and first kid on the way the world had already changed. Can’t really blame them. Timing was all wrong for their generation.

      • reality check

        I disagree. they could have still bought on the east side very easily well into the late 1990s but they didn’t want to live there. Now they are crying foul because the east side is out of their reach. I don’t feel sorry at all.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        So do you feel sorry for the newly graduated, newly employed generation?
        Or should they just suck it up and buy a started condo.
        My friends who bought in 08 and after are lucky to break even now, good luck moving up the property ladder.

      • What a pity that – missing out on living the Eastside dream!

      • Yes, I agree Reality Check. That was what my comment was about too. The good deals did indeed exist. They were there In spades too. Folks born on the Westside could never imagine lowering themselves to living down on Commercial, Clark or God forbid as far out as Boundary!

        And why should they? That was not their home area.

        My point was that absolutely nobody ever anticipated Vancouver would become one of the priciest cities on Earth. Nobody. And that is not a reason to fault those who did not buy when prices were cheap nor for others to resent them for complaining about the loss they suffered by the delay in buying..

        This market is exceptional and unusual in every way. Everyone is a victim.

    • 4 – your caucasian classmates left the city. Your asian classmates are here and own their house.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Wrong, Off the top of my head, 6 of my high school friends left Vancouver to go various parts of Asia because they could not make decent money here.

      • Maybe most caucasian kids don’t have fiilthy rich parents and a better nose for value. Keep buying suckers.

      • f1’s mo is to stir up the race issue. there isn’t one.

      • Don’t get mad at me, but on this topic Fi is just stating the obvious and he is right. We better get over it. Vancouver has moved from being just another multicultural community to being predominantly Asian and that ethnicity change in the broad demographic picture has only been accelerating. We are mostly wasting our breath being irritated with buyers who have the money and choose to live here though. I do not think it is racist to make the discussion open despite another poster calling me so the other day. There is no question that resentment exists when overseas money pushes locals out of their homes. Especially when that buying becomes the catalyst for rising prices and unanticipated demand. The truth is though that the majority of buying is by locals and not so-called HAM. We have got to keep perspective. At the same time it is totally reasonable to debate the topic of the influence of foreign money in our market and question if changes need to be made. As a starting point we should be collecting more accurate data on buyers so that we can have the debate with facts instead of anecdotes. I don’t think it is helpful to listen to people saying “the Chinese bought all my friends houses and they are not even Canadians” without more than a few shreds of hard evidence and an ugly sideways glance. If Chinese money is manipulating our markets then lets take steps to get to the bottom of it. The city itself has the power to demand data collection on property purchases at source if it chooses to exercise those powers a little more vigorously. Real estate is local. Therefore the rules should be local too.

  5. Not surprising, most of the people i went to university with have moved away. Id say out of the 20 close friends i had at ubc all but 5 have moved from Vancouver. And 3 of the 5 that stayed still live together! Most would love to move back eventually to raise a family, but i doubt they will if the current market conditions hold.

  6. Vancouver is the most over rated city on earth.
    Like a Hollywood movie set where the street scene looks real, if you step behind the facade of the Vancouver illusion then things here are really quite ugly.

    So why would you want to live here then, much less buy a house?

    • You have never been to Beirut, have you, Allen?

      • No, but when I served, I spent a fair bit of time peacekeeping in some pretty crappy places, if that’s what you are wondering. But, I think I understand what you are getting at. My point though, is this theme that pops up now and again, you know it, “Vancouver sucks, I hate Vancouver, BPOE my ass, etc…and I cannot afford to buy a house here!” Seems illogical to me. Just sayin’.

      • No problem. I understood too. Lots of us are frustrated with what has happened to our city. At heart we do love the place even with all its warts so when we criticize harshly it is a bit like an exorcism. Maybe even therapeutic.

        By the way…..Beirut…..best Falafel EVER

      • Hi Farmer, I think you are correct, a great deal of frustration and nowhere to direct that frustration that would seem to correct this situation. However, there are signs life might revert back to the mean over the next year or two don’t you think?
        Oh and thanks for the Beirut recommendation but I am a vegetarian, lol.

  7. But Falafel is vegetarian, Allen! Delicious too. Here is a recipe. You have got to try it. Use lots of pickles and hot peppers to make it more authentic and then with a healthy drizzling of Tahina….perfection!

    I now return you to the regular real estate blog.(now I feel hungry)

    • Wow, and all these years I thought Falafel was that “meat” you see carved off the vertical rotating spit in so many middle-eastern fast-food windows!

      • I have a weakness for that too (carnivore, sorry) but I just discovered chickpea flour this week. Makes instant Humus. Good for pea soup too!

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