“I work in the software industry. I’m preparing to move away. Other high tech employees with the skills and talent to get better work opportunities elsewhere are leaving the company due to the stupid cost of living here.”

“I’m one of those so called bitter renters. I have chosen to rent because I believe that living close to work is important for family health reasons. Our household is also loosely budgeted with the idea that the wife can stay home if she chooses. As we have a young child now, she is choosing to do that for the near future.
An opportunity came up at work for a company transfer to the US of A. Company transfers are pretty sweet. Most expenses are covered. Moving to a state with 0% state income tax, and homes cost oh, 75% less than they do here.
It’s a tough decision, lol. But you know, sacrifices have to be made.
I work in the software industry, and as I’m preparing to move away, I’ve been in informal discussions with some of the higher ups in my company, and in the discussions I’ve heard that other high tech employees are leaving the company (and the lower mainland) due to the stupid cost of living here. These are the shining star employees that are fleeing, as they are the ones with the skills and talent to get better work opportunities elsewhere.
Just in regular meetings, it’s come up with the upper level management, that the housing in vancouver is just CRAZY, and they worry for their children’s futures. Not only do they consider the housing to be CRAZY, but the also point out that salaries are out-of-proportion low. (Those two are likely related.) Also other general feelings that commutes are taking longer. Commutes from white rock to richmond used to be 30 minutes outside of rush hour, but in the past few years, it’s consistently been 45 minutes instead. (outside of rush hour)
VREAA I know you’re reading this, and I’d likely be interested in contributing to a series about my experiences in this new place outside of the ‘Best Place on Earth’, if you deem my writing style and content worthy of publishing.
In any case, after waiting so long and quite a large amount of marital stress over housing, we’re moving away.
I gotta say, at first it was a hard sell with the spouse. She didn’t want to leave her friends, but then she saw the shopping, the beaches (wow!) and um, the housing down there. And she came around.
There’s a lot more to write about. Differences in taxes, health care, car insurance, property taxes, and those HOA fees. Bottom line though, I’ll be paying a LOT less interest when I purchase down there. Credit ratings may be a bit of a challenge. Seems even with large DP’s you need a good credit rating for the best mortgages.
Good luck to all intelligent posters. I’ll still be hanging around these forums. I’ll just have to observe from a distance as the meltdown progresses.”
“I think we will choose to rent for at least the first year.
It just makes sense to take a little bit of time to get familiar with the area before committing to buying a place we have to live in for a long time. It does seem that monthly costs are really high in the area we are moving too.
Maybe we won’t like it down there. Who knows, leaving may open our eyes to the truth that Vancouver really is the BPOE. I’m thinking likely not. I’m looking forward to the adventure of being someplace new and different. Life should be fun and exciting. 30+ years of debt is just not for me. It’s really amazing how much Vancouver demonstrates the ‘emperor has no clothes’ children’s story.”

‘curious lurker’ at VCI 6 Jun 2012 5:27pmand 8:12pm

Thanks for the story, curious lurker. All the very best for the move and with future endeavours. We’d certainly welcome hearing more of your experience living away from Vancouver. Send updates via your own blog (see White Rock renter’s suggestion below) or by e-mail to us (see ‘contact’ above) and we’ll post them here.
Needless to say, we are saddened by the ongoing process of skilled individuals being pushed away from Vancouver due to housing costs, and we look forward to a time when housing here becomes more reasonably priced and less of a hinderance to the health and growth of the city.
– vreaa

“CuriousLurker – If you blog about your experiences moving stateside, I know I’d be interested. My family is in the exact same position as you, except husband hasn’t formally started applying for jobs there yet (software engineer). The only thing that keeps us here is family, really. I would love to know how education and health care measure up from someone actually making the switch. I think too often we dismiss the US as a non-option because of the assumption that schooling is terrible and health care is too expensive. I’m betting with better salaries, cheaper cost of living, and affordable housing that maybe healthcare costs and even private school costs would balance out and maybe we’d still come out ahead. I don’t know. I’m just sick of it here, the rain, and the attitude that somehow its different here. Let us know if you start a blog.”White Rock renter at VCI 8 Jun 2012 3:05pm

16 responses to ““I work in the software industry. I’m preparing to move away. Other high tech employees with the skills and talent to get better work opportunities elsewhere are leaving the company due to the stupid cost of living here.”

  1. One has to wonder whether this chart of jargon has anything to do with housing… or software design… or speculative manias in all their forms. I originally saw it on a software design blog (Signal vs Noise) but it is from Forbes. Note the piece of jargon that ultimately wins the bracket!


  2. amazing, Curious Lurker wrote his tome during the Venus transit.

  3. Another high-profile departure from local computer science:

    “I hold a CRC (Canada Research Chair) in machine learning/ computational statistics”

    “As of 15 May 2012, I have resigned from UBC and joined Google full time as a Research Scientist.”

  4. My husband also works in the software industry and we would move away if not for the health issues – that are going to be not covered by the insurance there as per-existing conditions for the first 12 months I guess? Anyways, the health care issues scare away some people from going south and that leaves me with the interesting observation – healthier and brighter professionals are easier to relocate from the country, that makes the higher % of the people with the problems here and higher costs for the health care now and in the future. One more sad side effects of the housing bubble.

    • I don’t understand this — wouldn’t the job offer include health benefits?

      Unlike retirement bennies, health bennies usually start immediately upon acceptance of the job.

      • Health benefits – yes, but they have lots of fine print caveats – usually do not cover per-existing conditions for the first 12 months (and the co-pay might be very high even if there are benefits in some cases). It depends on the state and the company health group policy.

  5. Some of this may be the normal churn of the job market. But, as I have said here before, this is not a new phenomena as the BPoE has always had a poor job market (pay and opportunity). I believe this is due to the misconception by the locals that the BPoE does not need to compete as hard for talent due to being the BPoE. Perhaps this is the same logic that has propelled the housing market too: the BPoE must be expensive because it is the BPoE!

    Good luck lurker, as you join your more ambitous colleagues elsewhere. You will surely meet many other Vancouver refugees plotting their return.

  6. The terrible schooling and expensive health care in the US are myths for anyone in a position to leave. Sure, if you move to a low income inner city area then yes, schools will likely be terrible. Realistically if you are leaving then you are probably in a position to live in a nice subdivision and you can bet the public schools are far superior to most schools in the lower mainland.

    Expensive health care is another myth. Yes, if you are low income then it can be very rough there but if you are moving there for work then you are not low income. With higher level incomes your overall cost for health care is much lower in the US mainly through lower income tax and the quality of care is generally much better.

  7. There is a lot of misunderstanding in Canada of how health care and education works in the U.S.

    The property value of your house will be greatly influenced by the quality of the public school your children may attend. One of the first thing people ask when buying a house in the states is about the quality of the schools.

    Underfunded, working-class public schools are likely to be crappy. Upper-middle class public schools are likely to be excellent. They are comparable to very good to excellent private schools — best education in the world. Example – the public high school in New Trier, Winnetka, Chicago suburbs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Trier_High_School

    Schools also vary greatly by the state. But in general, if you live in a middle-middle or upper-middle class suburb, the public schools will be good to excellent.

    Same with health care. If you don’t have insurance, or have a bad plan, you’re up sh*t creek; if you have a excellent plan, best care in the world. If you work for a quality company, you’ll get excellent health care benefits. Pre-existing conditions aren’t a problem unless you need to pay for your own health care insurance because you are out of work or starting your own small business.

    • It is a pre-existing condition in our son who is a young adult now and would not be qualified as a dependent to be covered under the family plan and would not be able to get his own coverage – so it is a problem for us. And we are actually still well off here and like to live in Richmond. OK, we are renting now but I do not see any big deal here, I feel that it was even beneficial for us to go the rent route instead of buying – we have a chance to avoid to became the proud (joint with the bank) owners of the ugly old house and leave here long enough to be able to pick something we like.

      • I’m an ex-pat living in Canada. It’s hard to move to another country, even if you love the new place.

        I think kids must be covered on their parent’s health plan until the age of 24 under Obama’s plan. But if you’re happy I wouldn’t move. It’s not worth it just to get a house. It’s a big pain to figure out the social security treaty, how to transfer everything retirement-wise, get residency, ect.

  8. ??? Why do they need people from Canada dont they have billions of unemployed people in the states, after their collapse? Are all the unemployed people untrainable retards or something? I could say worse things but I’m sure everyone gets my gist…:P

    • We’re talking about companies & jobs that are eligible for skilled work visas. Skilled companies around the world are always head-hunting. Why do mining companies in Canada head hunt engineers in the US and Australia? And vice versa. Companies are looking for specific skills that you can’t retrain for in 3 months.

      • And thats the issue, millions out of work in the states and yet the US is allowing “head-hunting” to continue…and the reason so many cant be re-trained because what…because it costs more for companies to have to set up the centres/schools in the first place instead of just grabbing more people. Man thats really short-sighted-bottom-line thinking…

      • Click on the link of the UBC guy who went to work for google. Look at his C.V. This isn’t the type of skill set you get from a training center.

  9. So Vancouver is being brain-drained. Due to it’s high cost of living, local specialists are turning to greener pastures for better opportunities. This is not a big surprise I suppose.

    High income earners are choosing to live where they can still sock away a larger share of their income without making so many sacrifices and without housing draining them every month.

    But of course, low income earners are being driven out too. Barristas and those who work the shifts at minimum wage outlets are impossibly trapped. So is anyone who seriously wants to raise a family. They have to leave because the city is getting so costly. So who are all these people?

    Young and educated or youth with no better employment prospects. Newlyweds starting out in life……Overwhelmingly young people. We know they are not elderly home owners. Seems to me that the greed of sellers has finally succeeded in driving the life blood out of the city. The place is going to be an old folks home. Makes you wonder if the average IQ will drop as a result (oops).

    But seriously, I think one of the biggest risks now is that good companies will pull up stakes and move elsewhere. Business will flee with the talent. If they can’t attract the kinds of workers they need in Vancouver then they have to move. Employee retention is incredibly expensive and a poor environment for workers is in no companies best interests.

    Just another outcome of overpriced housing.

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