“Just came back from Miami. Quite shocked when I saw ok-looking houses go for $150K-$300K. I used to be the kind of guy who would not stop talking about BPOE, but my mindset has definitely changed recently.”

“Just came back from Miami, Florida, I was quite shocked when I saw ok-looking houses in Coral Gables that resembled what you see Commercial Dr to go for $150K-$300K. It’s 30 C degrees in February, city is not as nearly congested as Vancovuer is (hello North Shore), and in all honesty, there were much less signs of homelessness and poverty that you’ll see in your average lower mainland neighbourhood. … I used to be the kind of guy who would not stop talking about BPOE, but my mindset has definitely changed recently…”
Knight at VREAA 22 Feb 2013 9:02am

Thanks, Knight, for the story. If you like, tell us more about the mindset change.
Why should it change now? First time in Miami? Traveling changed your perspective? Economic comparisons?
Or something changing for you here in Vancouver? Has the stalling market influenced you?
– vreaa

67 responses to ““Just came back from Miami. Quite shocked when I saw ok-looking houses go for $150K-$300K. I used to be the kind of guy who would not stop talking about BPOE, but my mindset has definitely changed recently.”

    • Some of these people are in the top 1% income bracket and they can’t afford to buy a reasonable property here. But there is no bubble. It’s just our envy, entitlements and real estate impotence.

      • I thought the same thing when I read the article, these guys are making decent wages and they refuse to take on a Vancouver mortgage…what chance do the rest of us have.

        And consider the reality that BC pays 50% less than anywhere else for tech sector jobs…in fact it seems that way for most sectors…project managers 75-85k ?!?! brutal.

      • May they need to put aside as you say their sense of entitlements and work their way up the properly ladder like everyone else? start with a condo/TH/crackshack in East Vancouver, rent out basements, garage, and host foreign students and work their way up! 🙂

    • And although he does plan to return home to Vancouver one day, Mr. Murray is more concerned about younger entrepreneurs who want to make a living there.

      “Back pedal me 15 years, with a full head of hair, just starting out, with kids. If I were living in Vancouver at the time, I would be thinking, ‘Do I start a business or do I start a family?’ You could do both but you’d have to make significant sacrifices.

      A smartass would say that the young entrepreneur just needs a better business case.

      • How big is your business? How many people are you employing? If you have employees (which I doubt), do you pay them enough so that they can afford a reasonable home in Vancouver?

      • I do not employ anyone. I’ve had many friends vacate to the US because they are paid double. The businesses they are working on can afford to pay their salaries. I know several people working in Vancouver for US based firms making US level wages, and they can afford Vancouver housing.

        I’m sure if a local employer offered them competitive wages they would consider it; on that front some local employers used to pay much better in fear of losing people to the US. That stopped about 13 years ago and salaries never recovered. They could afford the salaries because they were highly profitable. Other local employers simply would not compete; local salary surveys excluded said company as extraneous.

        Don’t know the answer, but the difference in salaries has been an issue as long as I can remember.

      • That’s what I thought.

      • Btw, “afford” a home in Vancouver can almost anybody. (Unless it’s a CEO with a brain.) It really depends on your definition of “affordable”
        Anyway, you missed the point about young entrepreneurs and in general it shows that you don’t really know much about running an actual business.

      • “you don’t really know much about running an actual business”

        If you say so. .You have no knowledge of my past. As I stated, I do not employ anyone.

        There are local employers paying US-level wages. Not many, but there are some, and they pay based on contribution, not on the local market, whatever that is.

      • Your smartass attitude is enough to tell that you have no business experience. And again, you are entirely missing the point made about young entrepreneurs.

        Come back to me when you hire some people and immediately pay them US level wages.
        Maybe also share your ideas about better business cases with the CEO of Sierra Wireless. Perhaps you will convince him to move to Vancouver.

      • “Your smartass attitude is enough to tell that you have no business experience”

        This is nothing personal. I think we can call it here.

      • NiceOne, Pretzels!… Always a treat to crack open the SCMP…

        [NoteToEd: A great link to append to the MAC feature post as regards denouement… Just between the two of us, it will be interesting to see whether McNeill’s ‘damage control’ succeeds in forestalling punitive sanctions…]

  1. Real Estate Tsunami

    If you’d take a poll right now.
    90 of Vancouverites would want to move somewhere warm and sunny, if they could.

  2. There is an inherent contradiction to a city that prides itself on its international character, while being so ignorant of the rest of the world.

    • Having lived in a few Canadian cities, large and small, I can say that Vancouver is easily the most parochial of the lot.

      …of course, I haven’t lived in Toronto…

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Just keep those equalization payments coming, and we won’t have to break out the map to figure out where to send the debt collector.
        Sincerely,
        The Centre of the Universe

      • Cyril Tourneur

        Parochial…and provincial.

      • Vancouver is worse. Its so isolated from anywhere else. People pretend Seattle doesnt exist.,That Bill Gates.. one of the 3 richest people in the world lives 3 hours down the road. Amazon. Boeing. Microsoft. Starbucks etc etc PEOPLE IN toronto realize that Montreal. New York are only an hours flight.

    • and proud of it.

  3. Iron Snowbitchez

    There are times during the year you want to avoid Florida. Like, most of the summer.

    If you are a Snowbird, there is an interesting Editorial in the local newspaper
    http://www2.canada.com/cowichanvalleycitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=48cab174-1bd1-4a9d-adaa-0f174c92fa8c

    “People are already allowed to spend six months outside the country and maintain their B.C. medical care. We feel that is more than generous.
    But our provincial government has proposed – inexplicably, we feel – to add an additional 30 days to that time limit. If anything, we think it should be going in the opposite direction.”

    The extra 30 days is called a Bull Trap. I can see this Reversed once Dix and the NDP win in May.

    • The snowbirds would still be resident in Canada and still paying Canadian taxes. So… not sure at the overall outrage that they are using the medical system (when their income taxes are going towards it?)

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Retired people typically have lower income and pay less tax. Because our system is graduated, they don’t just pay proportionally less tax. If you structure things so that income is from Canadian dividend paying companies, you can receive over $50k/year and pay no tax. That’s $100k/yr for a couple.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        The idea is that the Retirees paid into MSP during their working years and a now it’s their turn on the trough.

    • Well, even if this passes it wont benefit snowbirds wintering in the US because unless you are an American citizen, the maximum allowable stay is 180 days. Can’t say for other countries.

    • Actually, they will give you a year if you write a nice letter and ask special permission.

  4. If you have spent any time living abroad, you will realize Vancouver is overrated inflated by those surveys ranking Vancouver the most livable city in the world which often times do not take into account housing costs.

    In actually fact, vancouver is not expensive to live in. rent is relatively cheap compared to other real world class cities. But nobody wants to be a renter here.

    • pricedoutfornow

      That’s what I was thinking today when I read about Mark Carney’s housing allowance in London. The rents are astronomical! You can tell Vancouver is not a “world-class city” because we obviously do not pay “world-class salaries”. If we did, the rent costs would be substantially higher. It IS pretty cheap to rent here-we’ve been looking at houses to rent in East Van-you CAN find a full house for rent for under $2000/month (or thereabouts). Mark Carney would be hard-pressed to find similar prices in London, but then again, people make big bucks in London.

    • why would anyone want to be a renter anywhere that was considered a permanent home? People that rent normally do so because a) their time in a city is temporary, and there is no need to buy, or b) they cannot afford to buy in their city.

      • Gotta do the math on that, nuxfan. Renting for an entire lifetime could be more financially advantageous than owning in a distorted market like Vancouver.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Nuxfan,
        You just insulted 65% of the Swiss population.

      • And most of Germany too.

      • Do the Swiss or Germans rent because they like to rent, and never want to own?

      • The ratio between renters and owners shifts over time, Nuxfan. We are on the verge of a massive wealth transfer in this country as well that will in time mirror what has happened in Europe. The process will take a long time perhaps but the change is already underway down South. As a real world example of how this shift is materializing I encourage you to follow up on the US housing debacle. We are now seeing that new investment is coming almost exclusively from those who seek rents and income versus those who choose to be private owners. The outcome is that ownership of lands (including farmlands) is slowly moving from the middle classes to the wealthy and the new land barons. This trend will take decades to play out but it is my contrention the net outcome will be a net loss for those who participated in the bubble and a gain for those who waited and took up property for beneficial advantage. The new game is rents. Money counts.

    • I was in San Francisco, rent in a crappy part of town is now 2600 for a studio, over 4k for a 2br. And this is in a neighborhood that is not unlike the worst parts of east side Vancouver.

  5. People need to realize Vancouver is and will stay a pricey place to live in! Canada and especially Vancouver is a young place and became a good international medium size city, which on top of it offers an healthy lifestyle with the ocean, mountains… Of course to own in the West side and minutes away from the ocean, room will stay expensive and only available for few people out there! If you do not make in the six figures say bye bye and it is only normal. Look at other older medium-big cities in the world and you will find unaffordable houses in the nicest areas of those cities comparable to here or even worse…
    Coral Gables could be compare to Surrey or Abbey, but not to Van. We also know the US can be cheaper, but also does not offer the same health system, education or even social help etc… Even if a big price correction comes here after the bubble burst (which I believe could only happens with the raise of the interest rates)! Then still only a few would be able to afford in nice areas. You gotta choose : you want land and room, then move to the burbs! If you want the city lifestyle : well downsize you cannot have the cake and eat it!
    Also the outrageous gains made by the baby-boomers in the past 40 years will not be seen again (not here). If you invest in an upcoming part of the world maybe, but with a lucky progression of our salary close to 0%, how can we know a house in 40 years here wont cost only what it cost today? Buy where you want to live and be sure to stick for a decade (or more). You do not need a 3000 square feet house (which is a waist of energy anyways, and who have more than 2-3 kids now-a-days). Buy what you can afford and at the end it will always be a good deal!!!!

    • “Coral Gables could be compare to Surrey or Abbey, but not to Van.”

      OK, truthfully. Of the four places you mentioned, how many have you actually been to? Coral Gables is one of the best neighbourhoods in Miami-Dade County. I need not comment on Surrey or Abbotsford.

    • @Thewes – There are so many unsubstantiated claims and believes in this post that I can not even figure out what to address.
      For starters – “where you want to live” and “own” are not at all equal, with the ownership price like now you can rent for 10 years in the best areas around Vancouver and pay less than if you own there.
      Healthy lifestyle has nothing to do with the area where you live and the person who bought at the max what he could afford (got the max mortgage that he could be qualified for) is usually really house poor and does not eat well/spend less money for vacation and memberships/stressed over the property values declining.
      The cost of property that would be considered affordable for the medium income family is about 250-300 K. What kind of healthy lifestyle can be had at the small apartment esp. if you have kids and you are stuck there for a decade???
      Not only the raise of the interest rates could crash the market, the loos of the speculative component and rising unemployment could do it as well, both of them are already happening if you saw the last jobs loss report and RE stats.

  6. Is unemployment still above 11%?

    • Better health system and education in Canada? Only if you are poor and don’t have insurance. Much better quality in the States – just more expensive. Better education too (elite education). The health system in Canada is unsustainable anyways. It wont be there in its current form when I need it in 20 years.

      • UBCghettodweller

        Generally, don’t be in the bottom quarter of earners and find a profession with decent benefits in the USA and you’ll live better than you would in Canada… that is if you can tolerate some of the atavistic social and political policies there.

  7. I left Vancouver a decade ago for Southern California. The beaches, the year round sunshine, the better job prospects. Doubt I ever live in Vancouver again – very over rated.

    • did you become a US citizen

    • UBCghettodweller

      What part?

      I’m probably going to end up somewhere in California in the next twoish years. What parts of the lifestyle/culture/cities do you like more than Canada? What parts would you rather not have to deal with?

  8. “Traveling changed your perspective? Economic comparisons?” – VREAA

    [NoteToEd: MiamiSubPrimeBrokers were in such a rush to hand out NINJA loot back in the day… Witness a smoker with no socks and 3 day’s worth ‘o stubble pulling a fast one on BranchManagerCastillo for a PreSaleDP.]

  9. Yeah but the Miami home wouldn’t be walking distance to Oakridge Mall and its Zellers and Canada Line, and so what if you have Coconut palm trees and Mangoes growing in your back yard, you would not be able to say ‘wow beautiful mountains’ as like world class Vancouver

    and in Miami you cant go skiing in the morning jog the seawall in the afternoon……and Miami did not have a world-class Winter olympics as like beautiful Vancouver where the sun always shines

  10. Interesting……but not surprisingly, Detroit is listed as “most miserable” City in the US:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2013/02/21/detroit-tops-2013-list-of-americas-most-miserable-cities/

    They listed Miami as the most miserable City last year, but this year it isn’t even in the top 20. Nice going, Miami!
    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/detroit-named-most-miserable-u-city-forbes-ranking-222801782.html

  11. Many have already left for places like California and Florida.
    I encourage anyone who doesn’t have attachments to Vancouver to expand your horizons and be open to the idea of re-locating. Especially for young people. In the end, it will be better for your career, better for your financial well-being. There are well paying jobs in the States and if your skillset is in demand, you can get a visa and eventually residency. Don’t like CNN stories scare you about the United States. It is 90% the same as Canada.

  12. Having travelled around the world (20 countries) for the last 6 months it has become more and more clear to me how insane our local market has become. Something will give ,perhaps the exchange rate or the price directly will bring the cost of homes more in line. A front line condo on the beach in Spain (weather like San Diego) is less than the same size unit in New West. Something is wrong here!

    • I agree Eulmann. Some here talk a good line about relocating elsewhere but there are precious few like yourself that have actually done it and can see just how distorted Vancouver prices are.

      Fifty thousand buys you a relative palace here in Africa which includes servants quarters, gardens, housekeepers, security, personal driver and a gardener.

      Not only that, you might easily afford a family of 5 if you so decided while shunning the excess and insanity of the Western World. My question is this…how is it possible that those in the poorest of countries can afford to live well and have large families while those in the “rich” countries struggle to get by and eat Kraft dinner just to make ends meet?

      Who gives a shit about being able to ski in the morning and windsurf in the afternoon. Nobody actually does that anyway. The facts are that life in Vancouver (like many other N.A. cities) is exceptionally expensive. So much so that most young people cannot afford even one child!

      Living for debt is slavery. Pure slavery.

      • Farmer, yes, it is true that many young adults in Canada are struggling with wanting to have a baby but not being able to afford housing. This is where the housing bubble becomes very emotional and personal. A lot of women I know in their 30s have an urge to have a baby before they get too old but they can’t afford housing. It’s a taboo subject but a lot of abortions have happened due to the real estate bubble. A lot of babies weren’t conceived in the first place because of the real estate bubble. Sometimes I do lament all the lives that would have been if only the Canadian economy had more affordable housing and higher paying jobs.

      • I think a lot of the housing speculation speaks volumes about the level of selfishness in our society. Children are not just being sacrificed because they are costly but rather economic choices are being made that eliminate them from the equation altogether. The choice of buying into a rising market as hoverwhelmed even the primitive urge to procreate. Is that not somewhat incredible? Greed and speculation trump the basic human goal of assuring there are offspring to care for you in old age. We are so mixed up in this society that sex without purpose substitutes for family formation while the government guarantees of a social safety net in old age are sufficient for most to exclude children from their lives altogether. This is delusional in the extreme. When in history were there such guarantees offered to the extent that the majority of women in their child bearing years might rather have a house than a baby.

        I am baffled.

      • It’s not so much women would rather have houses than babies, it’s that modern standards dictate that you need a good, clean home that is free of mold. Try finding a good quality rental that doesn’t have mould and try finding a job that pays enough for that home and a grand a month for child care. There simply isn’t enough money for people to have kids. But I am a lefty and I always get into this fight with the bears and somebody says renting is so cheap in Vancouver compared to owning so you have no right to complain. I know loads of people who can’t afford kids in our society and these are hard working people who hold down two jobs and the insane cost of housing and the dismal quality of affordable rental housing is a big part of that equation. You are so cavalier to say young women are choosing this. I know young women who cry themselves to sleep at night because of this. The urge to procreate is strong among women but society doesn’t seem geared to that anymore. Kids are just an extra liability for an already overextended, increasingly impoverished middle class.

      • The Poster Formerly Known As Anonymous

        And then the government says we need 1 million immigrants a year to keep the population from declining. Then the newcomers come and find the same economic impossibility of having children. Then we need 1 million newcomers again. And so it goes: a graveyard of peoples’ hopes and dreams; a lemming cliff for the masses that dream of a better life.

        And what kind of home will it be, with no continuity, no common language… just a constant flow of fresh faces that wither into the protracted modern dying industry of hospices and end of life care, cared for by the strangers that came to replace them because they could have no children of their own….

        What a way to run a country.

      • Well you could be right. Perhaps I was being a bit cavalier. The thing is my belief is that it is about choices. Vancouver is not the only city in the world so I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for the gals crying themselves to sleep each night. It is not like Canada or the US are the Third World. Deciding to have a family means making it work and if that means moving then the answer is simple.

        Pack up and go.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        I have to throw my hand in with Farmer. There’s plenty of places where rentals are decent and home ownership doesn’t take all of two good salaries leaving nothing for childcare. There’s plenty of families, immigrant and native-born, who use extended families for childcare or figure out another way of making it work.

        I’ve always seen immigrants as some of the bravest and most resourceful among us, for it is they who left family and culture behind at huge expense to try to make it work in a foreign culture and climate. I don’t see too many of them as the type who’d decide they couldn’t afford to have children. They’d make it work, or they’d move again if that’s what they really wanted.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Farmer And Ralph,
        The age of the noble and self sacrificing Immigrant is long behind us.
        The Former Poster gets my vote.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Self-sacrificing? Genetically, it’s the person who doesn’t have kids who wins that label.

      • I also must agree with Farmer and Ralph. There are many other beautiful, suitable places to live, both within and beyond Canada’s borders, that will assure a family that is willing to work hard a good community and a good life.

        I get that it seems easier to take the path of least resistance and stay where you are and whine about how difficult things are rather than do something about it, though. You just don’t realize until you get out and get some perspective that there is so much more to life than slaving most of your life to pay an insanely high mortgage, living in fear that you don’t have the “right” house, or the “right” car, or the “right” clothes, or the “right” friends. We’re so consumed with what others think of us that many of us have lost sight of how to live our lives in an enjoyable, sustainable, relationship-centric way. It’s truly saddening not only to see people sacrifice so much for “the right stuff in the right place” that they are essentially plodding forward in misery to get it, but also that they have lost sight there is another way, and many other places will do.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- leaving Vancouver and starting anew in the prairies has vastly improved my whole family’s quality of life. I only wish we’d done it sooner.

      • Nice commentary Told-you-so and Ralph. More insightful than my own harsh criticism. I will repeat again though that I think it is all about personal choices.

        Those who remain in an extremely costly city while sacrificing their true desires have nobody to blame but themselves. The prairies are great. I agree with that on so many levels. It is also where I moved to bring a little sanity back to my budget. Costs of living in the smalll towns are exceptionally low. Rents are more than just favourable.

        Family life is bubbling too and for those seeking work it is available in spades. Of course there are those who will disparage small town life and the lack of services. Those are the same fools who would rather live the fast life and have the freedom to eat in a new ethnic restaurant every night of the week.

        You get what you pay for, I suppose. But what a stupid choice many have made that they throw away their opportunity for family and a better quality of life in exchange for bright lights, speculation and false opportunity.

  13. Actually I heard an old coworker who got laid off had a great job opportunity outside Vancouver, but fell through because he could not sell his place.

  14. Tired of the rain

    I have a home in Ft. Lauderdale area, and the price has now come back to what I paid for it in 2004 (just before the boom)… I moved to Vancouver in 2008, and the feeling here is eerily the same as Florida on the edge of the collapse. Other than prices never were as far out of line as they are here in Vancouver.

    I’ve rented our my $400K home in Florida for 3.2K/month, and pay 3K/month for a 1.1M home here.

    South Florida is tropical, and it is livable year round. After 4 years of being there, I forgot there was a winter. Other than the flurry of hurricanes that arrived when we moved in, and stopped they day we left, every day starts with the feeling of paradise.

    This July we are getting out of Vancouver, and heading to Kelowna. The idea is to be in Kelowna in the summer and Florida in the Winter… get out of the never-ending rain.

    Can’t say well miss Vancouver. Maybe it’s the rain, but this is the most depressing city we have lived in (out of Edmonton, Calgary, New York and Florida).

    The only choice will be where to spend the majority of time – Florida has no income tax, so it may may sense to have this as our principle residence. Even with the $700/month increased cost of health care.

    (Because someone will ask: My wife and I are Canadian, I consult to a range of US and Asian companies, and it doesn’t matter where we live. I have multiple 3-year TN visas – one for each company I work with.)

    • Nice man. Now that is what I call changing for the better. Economic opportunity in housing combined with better weather and higher potential savings. Why come back. I say good for you and best of luck.

      It pays to break from the herd and live a better life elsewhere.

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