“Currently I rent here in Vancouver as it’s the only fiscally sane option. Returning mortgage rules to responsible levels makes it far more likely that one day I’ll be a first-time buyer.”

“We do clearly have a bubble and it will burst. It’s wreaking havoc on Vancouver’s ability to retain creatives, families, and increasingly even high-earning professionals. It has a profound negative effect on quality of life here. I am just starting a family. Currently I rent here in Vancouver as it’s the only fiscally sane option. Returning mortgage rules to responsible levels makes it far more likely that one day I’ll be a first-time buyer.”
Many Franks, comment in the Georgia Straight, 3 Aug 2012 16:27

25 responses to ““Currently I rent here in Vancouver as it’s the only fiscally sane option. Returning mortgage rules to responsible levels makes it far more likely that one day I’ll be a first-time buyer.”

  1. UBCghettodweller

    I’ll be a first-time buyer but never in “the best place on earth. ”

    California is looking pretty damn good for a post-doc position right now. As long as I avoid San Francisco, the cost of living is sane enough that I can afford to eat and buy property there on a beginning academics salary. The condo prices (and their associated fees) are actually reasonable around the UCSD area.

    Congratulations Vancouver, after living here for four years, you have convinced me to never return. Between insane house prices and the regular elitism, exceptionalism and vulgar consumerism that Vancouverites demonstrate to me on a daily basis, I realised that this place isn’t really part of Canada any more.

    Pretty much any other large city in North America has either more job opportunities and/or lower costs of living for highly trained people. And guess what, some of those places are nearly as nice if not nicer than Vancouver for weather, nature and/or city culture. Not everyone has the same criterion for what makes a city an excellent place to live. Many wouldn’t put Vancouver in their top ten list on a world wide basis.

    It’s different here but not in a good way.

    • Why would you buy a place while on a postdoc? Isn’t there a high likelihood that you’ll have to move within a year or two?

      • UBCghettodweller

        Post-doc positions in biology are either two or five year commitments. Five years in a really good lab in you want your two Cell/Science/Nature papers so you can apply for faculty positions. Two if you want some training in a different field and one good paper (assuming you work 60+ hours a week and are lucky as hell that your experiments work and the results are sexy.)

        The reason I’d consider purchasing is that the market is bottoming out there and the cost of rent is nearly the same as a cost of buying even when you factor in the fees. Yes I’m partially speculating on the market, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in Vancouver is that if you buy low and sell at the high time while the rest of the market is high (I’m mean that both financially and pharmacologically) there is money to be made. Remember that there are

  2. Since this is (IMO incorrectly) filed under “demoralized renters” and has already garnered a “screw you guys, I’m leaving town” response, let me add some detail: I’m very happy with where and how I’m living. I managed to land myself a 3-bedroom half duplex in a great neighbourhood for a great price (just over $1200/mo). It’s well maintained and stable, i.e. I won’t be dealing with realtor walkthroughs in two months. I could live here happily for 5 years or longer, however long it takes for my downpayment to find a better home than the various low-risk investments it’s currently in.

    Employment-wise I could be telecommuting to work from anywhere on the planet. I’ve shopped the idea around on a few continents over the years but I always end up coming back. Which is not to say that this is the best place on earth — for my tastes I might pick Oslo, or Berlin, or Portland, or maybe someplace tropical — but it’s where my friends and family are and it’s a great place for my daughter to grow up.

    Vancouver’s a nice place with great potential. It just has to get over its current silly preoccupation.

    • These pretzels are making me thirsty

      Words like “nice”, “potential” (for what???) are really just words.

      I agree that the scenery is good but other than that where are the economic or infrastructure fundamentals? Compared to Seattle, Portland or even Calgary or TO.

      Vancouver is a “nice” 3rd tier city. Good touristy town.

      If you are happy with high taxes, surreal RE and daily dose of robotic discourses about BPOE from people who are spending more than 70% of their post tax income on their mortgage, then good for you. You are different.

    • Many Franks -> Thanks for posting. I largely agree with your perspective.

      Please note that your story is not filed under a “demoralized renters” category (there is no such category) but rather under the “Demoralized renters?” category. Note the question-mark. Under that category you’ll find many stories of renters who are quite happy with their situations, thanks very much.
      Regardless, we wish you well with future endeavours, whether here or elsewhere.

    • Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

      $1200 rent for a 3 bedroom in Vancouver proper!!! And it’s not a basement suite!!! You really lucked out with that and your situation is not reflective of what is available for those looking to enter the rental market in City of Vancouver! You’re either really lucky or you live in Surrey or you’re about to get renovicted.

      When I was looking to rent in Van proper a few years ago $1200 got you a two bedroom in an old poorly maintained walk-up on the east side with a lot of deficiencies.

      • pricedoutfornow

        I live in East Van, in the “fancy area” (so I’ve been told) in a 2 bed, 2 bath condo which rents for $1350/month. A few days ago I looked at a 3 bed, 1.5 bath townhouse for rent just down the street for $1330 (okok, so it was an “affordable housing” place-but there was no income ceiling so my SO and I could have moved there if we wanted-which we don’t, it was too small, enough rooms but not enough square feet). Anyway, the property manager told us we were the first people to look at it after several days of being advertised. Honestly, this does not lead me to think that there is an “affordable housing crisis” in this city, if we are able to find these units easily, why can’t everyone else (or, I realize perhaps $1300 for a 3 bed is a hardship for some, but come on, this is the big city what do people expect, $500 for a whole house?). My significant other and I could easily afford to pay more, but choose not to (plus we have daycare to pay, which cuts into the rent budget).

    • Thanks for your positive comments concerning living in Vancouver. I feel the same, but of course, haters gotta hate.

      • These pretzels are making me thirsty


        “….positive comments concerning living in Vancouver.”

        Rents are extremely low compared to owning RE in Vancouver which is insanely overpriced for a regional city without economic and fundamentals to support it.

        Make sense?

      • Agree completely. We rent. I was referring more to the positive non-RE aspects to living in Vancouver and the general non-RE Vancouver bashing.

      • Please see “What’s really good about Vancouver?” sidebar.

  3. Anonymous UBC Professor

    “Currently I rent here in Vancouver as it’s the only fiscally sane option.”

    Recently I had a conversation with some professor friends who live in Lausanne, Switzerland. Some comparisons of finances:
    – For comparable jobs, their salaries are about 75% higher than mine.
    – The price of an SFH is in the same ballpark as Vancouver: say, starting at around $1m.
    – Their daycare costs are about $2k/mo (roughly 50% higher than here?). Other friends in Seattle and Boston also pay around that.
    – In Lausanne, rental housing is difficult to find, and typical rental rates seem to be about double Vancouver (say starting at $4000/mo for a modest SFH).

    Their conclusion: “If you live in Vancouver, the solution is clear: just rent.”

  4. “The Loneliest sight in the world” – The house across from us in East Pt. Grey, 2 blocks from the beach on a 50 x 120 lot is up for sale. It has been for a month. Today they had an open house. I was able to watch from my living room…….not one person came. A few Porsche Cayenne’s flashed by and slowed down a bit, but NO ONE stopped. 18 months ago 2 houses at the end of our block both sold for $500K over asking…that’s ask $1.9mil and get the first person in a long line-up, to offer $2.4 mil. I am watching the sad and lonely realtor sitting in his mercedes looking quite forlorn. This will not end well!!!!!!!

  5. “Currently I rent here in Vancouver as it’s the only fiscally sane option.”

    I agree with this guy, and can anyone explain to me why anyone would by a leasehold at current prices? You’re basically signing on for a 99 year rental agreement (if it’s a new building), at which point they tear the whole sucker down and start over again. I can conceive of why buying land can be a good idea if you can get a good price, but leashold condo/townhomes? How on earth is an asset like that going to retain value? In real terms shouldn’t it depreciate in value YOY? It seems to me that leaseholds should have carrying costs priced well under rental rates to make any sense at all.

    Living in the GVR for the last 10 years is like living in a bizarro economy in a number of ways. In my opinion if people had any sense at all they’d rent forever unless the rent to ownership cost ratio shifts substantially in the other direction.

  6. I pretty much agree with what everyone is saying. There are so many that have recently swallowed the ownership pill that will soon start to feel like a noose around their necks.
    I don’t think we need to wait for an external disruptor to cause big problems, we’ve done it from within. Sales slow down, turns to lower prices, turns to job losses, feed it back and you have a local economic landslide.

  7. @Many Franks

    You live on prior street right?

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