“It’s not that Baroldi fell flat on her face when she moved to Vancouver. She found work, made friends and started to build a new life for herself. But she also didn’t feel like she was making enough meaningful progress in her life — instead, like so many other people her age, she was just effectively treading water. Vancouver, she says, is probably a wonderful place to be 20. But, as she discovered, people’s priorities change at 30, which is part of the reason she moved back to Edmonton late last year. “As soon as people hit 30, they run into a wall,” Baroldi says. “They have different life goals. While they can be achieved in Vancouver, they can’t be achieved as easily.”
“For those who do need to make a living, Vancouver is just about the furthest thing from livable. That’s a direct result of the city’s turbo-charged real-estate market. It wasn’t that long ago that middle-class families could afford to buy middle-class homes in Vancouver-proper without selling their children into slavery, but those days are long gone. According to Royal LePage, the price of an average detached home reached $1,017,500 in the fourth quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, Vancouver real estate team Faith Wilson Group says the price tag on a place located on the west side of the city hit a staggering $1,656,986. The average price of a condominium, on the other hand, was $536,500 — more than $200,000 higher than the average price of a house in Edmonton.”
“Eventually, something’s going to have to give — that is, if it isn’t giving already. That’s the message that Sandy Garossino, a Vancouver-born (and Alberta-raised) lawyer and business owner, spent the recent Vancouver civic election trying to spread as an independent candidate. She contends that while there has been plenty of talk about the negative impact of the recently implemented and more recently rejected harmonized sales tax, it’s the city’s real-estate market that’s doing the real damage to local business. “I have two concerns: That we’re in a housing bubble, or that we’re not.”
Either way, she’s actively discouraged her own kids from waiting around to find out how it unfolds. “I tell my kids to go out and seek their fortune elsewhere,” she says. “You can’t do it here.”
In fact, Garossino thinks that this exodus of young talent is the biggest cost associated with Vancouver’s real-estate mania. “These are kids that could build Vancouver. They’re educated, ambitious and entrepreneurial, and they don’t think that Vancouver represents opportunity for them.”
The Vancouver Foundation, an organization which works with all communities in the city, asked a wide range of people what they thought Vancouver’s biggest problems were, and it expected to find the usual suspects — homelessness, urban poverty and a lack of affordable housing — at the top of the list. Instead, it heard something quite different from Vancouverites: They felt isolated and alienated, and that they didn’t like it.
– excerpts and image from ‘Paradise Found’, by Max Fawcett, avenueedmonton.com, 3 Apr 2012. The article deals with Edmontonian ex-pats returning from Vancouver, and the deleterious effects of RE prices on Vancouver communities. [Perhaps rather ‘Paradise Regained’? -ed.]
The most profound negative effect of the speculative mania in Vancouver RE has been the severe misallocation of human capital.