School Board Official Pushed Out By RE Prices – “I went on a walk at night and a house was there and then the house was gone and there was a lot for sale. It went for, I think, $1.6M for just dirt. I just couldn’t believe it.”

“Vancouver’s housing market has claimed a high-profile victim. Jordan Tinney, the Vancouver School Board’s deputy superintendent, is leaving his position for a job with the Surrey school district.
Tinney was a superintendent in Comox Valley before landing his VSB position in 2010. He’s been commuting back and forth to Vancouver Island, where his family still lives, ever since.
He has two children—one who’s graduated and moved out, and one in Grade 2. The 50-year-old rents in Dunbar, but his family had expected to be reunited by now.
Tinney said he underestimated how high house prices were in the city before he moved here. “I went on a walk at night [in Dunbar] and a house was there and then the house was gone and there was a lot for sale. It went for, I think, $1.6 million for just dirt,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe it…When you come from Vancouver Island and you look to buy in Vancouver, there’s a dramatic difference. So it was certainly a factor. I just want to have my family over here.”
Tinney’s family favours a detached home with a yard, and they searched for property across the Lower Mainland.
His first appointment with a realtor was to see a home in Port Moody but it took him two-and-a-half hours to drive there due to an accident on the highway. Frustrated by the prospect of a long commute, Tinney also looked at renting or buying in Vancouver.
“We considered very strongly Yaletown and around downtown, just getting a condo as a family, but we’re used to a yard. We’re a family, right. We’ve got kids and a dog and moving into a condo is not necessarily the easiest thing… our criteria has always been a detached home with a yard,” he said. Tinney also wanted his son in the same school district in which he worked, which was looking less likely if he remained in Vancouver “unless we made a very, very, significant life adjustment,” he said.


“Shortly after he arrived in Vancouver, we very quickly saw how lucky we were to have someone like Jordan Tinney. He is absolutely outstanding. He’s our key problem solver—very quickly he showed himself to be someone who was able to resolve what sometimes seemed like impossible problems—very visionary. Just an amazing leader,” said Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus. She added there’s a lot of competition amongst districts for senior managers of Tinney’s calibre.
“We knew he was being recruited by other districts. We knew he wasn’t able to find housing he was looking for,” she said, calling his departure not a surprise, but a disappointment.
“It is a huge gain for Surrey and it is a loss for Vancouver.”

– from ‘Class Notes: Pushed out, Naoibh O’Connor, Vancouver Courier, 12 Apr 2012

23 responses to “School Board Official Pushed Out By RE Prices – “I went on a walk at night and a house was there and then the house was gone and there was a lot for sale. It went for, I think, $1.6M for just dirt. I just couldn’t believe it.”

  1. Paul Streppel

    Sounds like a strategic retreat.

  2. Agree in general that housing priced out some wonderful professionals Vancouver needs in great desire. But why uses housing price in west side for reference?
    Living in van east, Burnaby or new west won’t qualify one as a high profile personal?
    Housing price became forbidden for our lower income workers, but there are choices for a high profile manager if it’s the only reason for change of job.
    Just a little disappointed that a lots like me living at van east were not treated as decent. Now it’s a choice of a house in van west or nothing, leaving for another city’s west side.

  3. don’t be ridiculous van school. houses near nanamimo , renfrew are listed around 1 million dollars. forget the west side. lets do a little simple math. you find a 1950s’ bungle around 7th and nanaimo for $ 900,000. say that you have somehow managed to save $200,000 in cash, after any debts have been deducted, which is not likely for most. rafter land transfer cost $25-$30,000 and any realtor fees you are in for $950,000. so you need a mortgage for $750,000. at these never before seen low interest rates , which will double just to get back to normal levels, your monthly payment at a 5 yr. fixed rate of 3% and 25 yr amortization would be around $4200 a month or $50,000 a year after tax…so $80,000 a year before tax. add on your utilities, property tax and any maintenance and you are looking at $100,000 a year to finance that house. remember that you have not eaten yet or paid for anything else that you do or need. when rates rise, which mark carney keeps warning all canadians that they will- we are going to either see people trying to rent their basement suites for $ 4,000 a month or we are going to see a huge collapse and tons of foreclosures and you know what we will see then? masses of vancouverites asking the govt for help and blaming the banks for lending them the money or blaming those that brought in all the cash from offshore and bought up certain parts of the city, driving the real-estate market to ridiculous levels. so bottom line-east van is out of reach for most of us.

  4. correction…i used a 4.5% rate

    • Even at a 3% rate, you are 100% correct – a tear-down on a busy street in New West is pushing the $1M mark now – definitely out of reach for 99% of families. The GVRD is officially offshore only.

  5. Wow that must have been a tough choice. Like a switch the single family dwelling is out of reach. I know nothing moves in a straight line but 10 years is awfully fast to render an entire asset class out of reach.

    • reality check

      actually it’s not that fast. the city needs to increase its density significantly. way too much land zoned single family and that is why prices are so exorbitant.

      • I am fascinated at the sudden shift from “within reach” to “out of reach” in not too much time. It’s like the entire City decided to wake up and decide that the single family house is no longer realistic. Higher density seems like a logical step to make but the way by which things are to change seems a bit sudden.

      • Renters Revenge

        Given all the empty/partially occupied SF homes as outlined in a recent post here, do you really think density is the issue? Every other city in North America has a large component of single family why wouldn’t Vancouver? Kids, dog and a fish tank in a condo? I guess it can be one but it’s not ideal.

    • “Like a switch the single family dwelling is out of reach. I know nothing moves in a straight line but 10 years is awfully fast to render an entire asset class out of reach”.

      50 % of this asset class was out of reach 25 years ago. Another 30% has become unaffordable in the past 10 years. Not a straight line

  6. pricedoutfornow

    This won’t end well. It’s pretty sad when professionals can’t afford a dump in East Van (and they ARE dumps!). Moving to Surrey seems to have been the solution for a lot of people. What will become of this city when (if) a crash happens? Lots of upset people who feel gypped from spending $800k on a house that shouldn’t be more than $250k. Then again, there are those of us who are toughing it out renting in inappropriate housing situations (basement suites, condos too small for families) in this city rather than take the debt plunge. And why should we? The world is starting to wake up to the fact that we have a serious problem here. Soon Vancouverites will realize this too, though it will be too late for many. I will say…cry me a river…I’m sick of it all.

    • Renters Revenge

      I’m sick of it too. It’s nauseating watching the deluded masses wandering around thinking they live in the BPOE smugly confident that a two million dollar 33ft patch of dirt is normal and sustainable.
      Mass delusion, and a perfect setup for a world of hurt when the music stops.

    • “It’s pretty sad when professionals can’t afford a dump in East Van (and they ARE dumps!). Moving to Surrey seems to have been the solution for a lot of people”.

      probably more to this decision than a simple Surrey for Vancouver swap. I can honestly think of 6 or 8 better local communities than Vancouver to raise a young family – Vancouver would be near the bottom of my list

    • Yes pricedoutfornow, all of East Van is just dumps. Nothing else there.

  7. Renters Revenge

    “In many ways this group may be more influential than the much ballyhooed 20-something. Unlike younger adults, who are often footloose and unattached, people between the ages of 35 and 44 tend to be putting down roots. As a result, they constitute the essential social ballast for any community, city or suburb.

    Losing this population represents a great, if rarely perceived, threat to many regions, particular older core cities. Rust Belt centers such as Cleveland and Detroit have lost over 30% of this age group over the decade.

    More intriguing, and perhaps counter-intuitive, “hip and cool” core cities like San Francisco, New York and Boston have also suffered double-digit percent losses among this generation. New York City, for example, saw its 25 to 34 population of 2000 drop by over 15% — a net loss of over 200,000 people — a decade later. San Francisco and Oakland, the core cities of the Bay Area, lost more than 20% of this cohort over the decade, and the city of Boston lost nearly 40%.”
    http://www.magid.com/node/179

  8. I probably wont be popular on this website: it is real hard to fathom a RE crash in Vancouver. Many powerful instituitions have too much stake in the ground – these organizations have the political clout to tailor rules to allow the price hikes: it is not right or wrong, it is a fact and that is where I will put my money.

    • It’s not that you are unpopular, just misguided. Your hypothesis is correct, but your conclusion is wrong.

      “Many powerful instituitions have too much stake in the ground”

      Most of us will not dispute that. We’ve seen the campaign contribution records for Gregor Robertson, Susan Anton, etc.

      “these organizations have the political clout to tailor rules to allow the price hikes.”

      That was also true in the US. And Ireland. And Japan 20 years ago. How did those scenarios play out?

      Policymakers can prolong the bubble, but not indefinitely. There are several other possible catalysts.
      – CMHC reaching its cap. This is underway, and may significantly reduce the cheap credit fueling the bubble.
      – Rising mortgage rates, which are essentially controlled by Ben Bernanke, whom local policymakers have no influence on.
      – A psychological shift which causes first time buyers to drop out. This could come from: a collapse in China, falling commodity prices, a significantly weakening local economy, another war (e.g. Iran), etc.

  9. Jordan Tinney is just using this as an excuse to escape from the VSB. It is a poorly run school board and once he arrived he realized how dysfunctional it was and decided to take a job in Surrey. End of story. Real estate is just a red herring

    • I think you just pointed out just how screwed Vancouver is – a broken school board where educators can’t afford to live. No wonder working families are leaving in droves.

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