Their Children Have Left Vancouver – “One of the rarely discussed consequences of the huge RE price inflation in Vancouver has been the separation of the extended family.”

cheaper RE this way!
“Cheaper housing, follow me.”

“One of the rarely discussed consequences of the huge RE price inflation in Vancouver has been the separation of the extended family.
My own adult children have left their home city (Vancouver) partly because of better opportunities elsewhere, but mainly because of the ridiculous cost of housing. The dream of raising a family in a single family home in Vancouver is an illusion. Their options are to commute hours a day or live in a box.
Well over half my friends are in the same boat. Their children have left Vancouver. They are raising their own families in other cities and other countries. My neighborhood looks nothing like it did even ten years ago. The neighbors don’t say hi to each other and the traditional cultural events in the community are gone.
I loved my city. It’s still beautiful (when the sun shines). But now, I find it kind of lonely and hollow.”

Uwinsome at 11 Mar 2013 11:23pm [hat-tip Bob G]

Excellent comment.
A city does best when RE is reasonably priced; when the cost of shelter is not an excessive hurdle to young industrious individuals either remaining here or moving here.
The speculative mania has pushed RE to prices that are two to three times reasonable values, and has consequently forced people away from Vancouver; it has been a deeply destructive force.
– vreaa

A related anecdote, previously headlined here:
“I think about my own home that I bought in 2000, it’s worth about four times what I paid for it now. … I have four kids, three in their twenties and one in their thirties, and they’re never going to be able to afford to live in Vancouver because they’re not already in the market.”
Peter Ladner (former candidate for mayor), Shaw cable TV interview, 25 May 2011

36 responses to “Their Children Have Left Vancouver – “One of the rarely discussed consequences of the huge RE price inflation in Vancouver has been the separation of the extended family.”

  1. [NoteToEd: More alarming still, today’s absconders are packing it in so much sooner than their predecessors had.]

  2. Cyril Tourneur

    It’s not just the price of housing here that is pushing people away, it is also the form of housing. For most young couples the thought of raising kids downtown in glass-clad concrete towers isn’t exactly appealing.

    • It’s stupid because 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses can be made nice for families. We could have built those instead of mini-hotels with 4 suites on single family lots.

    • > For most young couples the thought of raising kids downtown in glass-clad concrete towers isn’t exactly appealing.

      Uhh, I think you’re just talking out of your ass. I think you mean that the idea is not appealing to boomers, maybe? Or not appealing to you. I know lots of young couples making a go of it downtown, Fairview Slopes, Commercial, etc. There are more kids living downtown and in central neighbourhoods now than in, god, probably the last 50-70 years.

      • Are they making a “go” of it because they want to, or because the ridiculous prices for SFHs have forced them into their current circumstances? I bet that most would prefer a house with a yard.

        We lived in a downtown box when my son was born, and it sucked. Lots of drunken hollering in the night, general noise, and theft. And those parks you mention? Full of used condoms and needles.

      • @ El Ninja – So every person in the world living an urban life is doing it because they’ve been forced into it? You realize how ridiculous that sounds, right? Personally I find downtown quieter and calmer than when I visit my parents in the burbs. Less honking, less noise, less traffic, altogether a higher quality of life. Space is not as plentiful, true, but it’s a compromise I choose to make. The variety of daily experiences at your fingertips would be very good for childhood development, I would think.

      • @Andrew.

        You’ve put words in my mouth. I did not say that every person in the world living an urban life is doing so involuntarily. First, we’re talking about Vancouver, not the rest of the world. Current conditions in Vancouver’s real estate market are unlike those in most other places. Second, SFHs and “urban life” are not exclusive. Is not the entire city of Vancouver urban? Finally, I was referring only to the “young couples” with kids who you referenced in your previous post. I still bet most of these folks would opt for a SFH with a yard in Vancouver, if only they could afford it.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Living downtown is a lifestyle choice, there are no SFH’s and barely any townhouses to speak of, but that does not explain all the condos sprouting up in the suburbs.

      • Cyril Tourneur

        “The variety of daily experiences at your fingertips would be very good for childhood development.”
        Dirt under the fingertips is probably more important for kids to be able access than fancy coffee shops are.

      • Andrew, you’re the one blowing gaseous emissions. Sure, there might be a handful of people who truly enjoy shoehorning their kids into a tiny condobox. The majority try to put a brave face on it as they take Junior out for a game of Hide N Go Seek But Dodge the Needlestick in a downtown park, or the ever popular guessing game, “Is It Animal or Human Excrement”. And once child number 2 comes along they flee the “excitement” of downtown. You must be very sound sleeper to ignore the all night sirens, the clatter of stolen grocery carts piloted by binners or the pervasive grind of garbage trucks,.

      • The problem Andrew is that even a modest 2 bedroom, 900 sq/ft downtown condo is priced around $650,000 and UP. Compare what $650,000 buys you in other cities, or in the states. I’m not sure about you, but $650,000 is a lot of dough for me.

      • Andrew, your analysis is wrong. There are more kids living in downtown now than ever before because there are more PEOPLE living downtown than ever before. I am very familiar with what is happening downtown as I happen to live downtown with my wife and 2 young children. The issue at hand is that many young people bought 5 to 7 years ago the maximum amount of housing they could afford, which happens to be a downtown condo of perhaps between 700sf and 800sf. Fast forward to today and many of them find themselves married and have young kids now. In the meantime, the market has run up so fast, there is no way for them to upgrade to accommodate their family. A 1200sf place would cost them north of $700,000. So they have two options. Uproot and move to the burbs or else stick it out. Some choose to stick it out because they work downtown, and are active members in the community. In fact, many couples have one child and now find they cannot have two. When there’s young kids, one parent usually ends up not working or working part time. It is virtually impossible to make ends meet in downtown unless you have significantly high income. So what you are seeing is not by choice, but by sheer numbers and people making difficult decisions about sacrificing space for location. This is not ideal. Children don’t need a 3,500sf house to grow up in, but anything less than 1000sf is quite constrained. We are not Hong Kong, we are not Toyko. The reason why we are in this predicament is because of greed. Both from speculators and developers. Speculators used easy credit to gamble on the real estate market, sucking up as many properties as they can. Many properties left empty in the hopes of a flip in the future. Whilst at the same time developers would rather put up two 500sf units and sell them for $400K than put up one 1000sf unit and sell it for $600K. It’s all about margins. There’s a reason why we see the tiny-est of skyboxes coming equiped with Miele appliances and granite counter tops. Developers don’t think twice about putting in a $4000 cooktop and market up the retail price of the unit by $12000. Instead of of proper high density row houses, all we are now seeing outside of downtown is illegal suites. Knock down 1 old house then put up a butt-ugly 3 or 4 suites. How else do you get a house with 8 bedrooms? Bedrooms are 8×8 or smaller. These mis-guided policies will severely hamper Vancouver in the long term.

    • It’s obviously nice to have a SFH for the family, maybe with a couple of ponies too, a place to swim in the summer, and a white picket fence around the whole estate. Isnt that what North Americans have been programmed to expect? But I don’t see it as necessary as long as there are enough rooms, walkable streets, parks close by, etc. Thats how people do it in the old world, at least in the big cities that were designed for a certain density.

      • I live in a townhouse with a young family and it works. But the cost is quite high for so little when you look at the rest of the country. Then you want to get lessons for your kids? The rate is higher bc the teacher needs to make rent/mortgage. The cost of leasing commercial space is higher so everywhere you go, the prices are higher. And the list goes on…at some point you start to realize that it is isn’t worth it.

      • Multi-family dwelling also requires excellent sound proofing or you will find your neighbors a lot less friendly very quickly!

  3. We know five couples with young children that have moved away. Four of them moved to the United States. They live in nicer homes that are fully paid for now.

  4. My children were born in Vancouver not long ago, We moved out of BC back to Ontario because of the excessive cost of shelter in Vancouver.

    While I still have not bought a house here in Ontario & GTA because it too is way over priced, at least renting a 1800 sqf fully detached home in GTA burbs is only $1300 a month, compared to the $1700 that we paid for the 2 bedroom condo we rented in Vancouver.

    Toronto is a much better city for business that Vancouver ever was in the 7 years I spent there. I love the geography of Vancouver, but can’t see a bright economic future for it.

  5. I go mine Jack, screw you. If those losers cant afford to live in BPOE good riddance., scum. me and mine got ours, the rest of you can suck eggs.
    Average Vancouver Response

  6. Hhmmm….how difficult is it to emigrate to the U.S. as a Cdn couple? Anyone know? I’d love to buy a home for $900,000 in the U.S. I could buy a gorgeous place!

    • Why, Zen… emigrating to the HomeOfTheBrave (if perchance, the somewhat less free these days) is far easier than making your way as an undocumented alien from Honduras to an EastVancouver construction site!…

      [VancouverSun] – CBSA raid on migrant workers, complete with TV camera crew, raises concerns in Vancouver

      …”The raid, which took place at the Porter development on Victoria Drive near 20th Avenue, was one of about 10 that reportedly occurred throughout the city Wednesday.

      A site foreman for the condo developer Cressey said two CBSA officers arrived around noon hunting for two Honduran nationals who were quickly located. A short time later, as many as 17 officers surrounded the building and began sweeping the construction site floor by floor, checking identification….

      He said about eight people, all of whom worked for a subcontractor, were taken away from the site….

      …Coffee shop owner Skelhorn, whose Commercial Street Cafe is across the street from the Victoria Drive raid site, said many of the Mexican workers on the site are regulars at her coffee shop.

      About a dozen workers came flooding in Wednesday after the raid, warning colleagues at other sites and connecting with family on their cellphones, she said.”

      [NoteToEd: High on the HitParade of YVR ConstructionSite practical jokes AlwaysGuaranteedToPlease is the time honoured practice of shouting, “Oficial de Inmigración! Inmigración!”… Just between the two of us, CBSA PerpWalked the wrong people…]

    • EB5 Investor Visa is the easiest way. It requires a $500K investment into a regional center who use your money to create a certain number of full time jobs for a certain number of years while trying to preserve your capital. If the jobs aren’t created, your visa is revoked and there is no guarantee of getting the funds back and if you leave for an extended time or appear like you are not fully transitioned into living in the US they will revoke it. Typically you would sign up with an established regional center that has a long track record of success. With this Visa your entire family (kids under 19) get residency, can work, go to US colleges without international fees etc

      Compare that to Canada where you give $800K to the government and they basically hold on to it for a few years doing nothing with it and then give it back to you.

    • If you are educated, and the more you are, it is relatively easy for a Canadian Citizen. The TN (Nafta) Visa allows obtaining a job with a 4 year University degree in a wide variety of cases. The other route is family re-unification, which means being sponsored by a US relative there and waiting for your immigration priority date.

      As for a $900k home, in most cases you wouldn’t even need to do that and good chance you’d consider allocating your money elsewhere. You can get wonderful places around Seattle for 1/2 of that and in the midwest for 1/3. The disconnect is so pronounced between what it takes in Van and elsewhere that it is hard to fathom. My friends in Van can’t conceptualize a starter home in the 200’s and a first move up in 300’s as an example. Yet, it is out there south of the border in wonderful cities. Spend $500k and you can get a very established place, nice that is the final destination for most professionals.

      • It should be noted that the TN visas require you to have the job first and you can’t switch jobs (without getting a new TN). Not all professions are allowed under TNs, too. Plus, while many employers don’t mind dealing with the extra paperwork, many don’t want to be bothered. A spouse (and kids) can live with you but can’t work without their own TN.

        Once your TN runs out, you have to leave. There is no provision for staying on the US after retirement. So zen would have to leave that gorgeous home.

  7. I live in Kits and there seems to be a large number of apartment vacancies in the last several months. Usually a solid portion of these would be held by young people.

    I suspect these vacancies are rising because the young people are getting out. It is pretty bad when in a city where it’s roughly 50% cheaper to rent than own, suites go unfilled.

  8. Surveilling her latest impropriety, the insanely jealous RoboRedaktor swore a most terrible oath of ultimate retribution, “HostageComment, did you think that for even one moment your improvident flirtations and infidelity would go unnoticed by me… or unpunished!?”

    Apropos of UnrequitedLove and an unwholesomely intolerable interlude spent lurking outside the threshold of her RetroModernistBoudoir amidst the assorted HumanDetritus of OhSoKitsch Kitsilano… it suddenly came to him.

    Whereupon RoboRedaktor pledged a RetaliatoryRiposte of such stupendous, brutal malevolence that even he was momentarily ashamed of himself.

    Still, vengeance was vengeance after all, accordingly – scissors to hand – an enraged RoboRedaktor assiduously began to destroy every single stretchy exercise/leisure garment in HostageComment’s hideously superfluous wardrobe.

    Temporarily satiated by this, he paused momentarily to catch his breath …and to admire the divine splendour of his wrath.

    But, as it happened, only for the very briefest of instants – for, having espied her truly vulgar and ginormous shoe collection, the temptation to wreak yet further CoutureHavoc became utterly irresistible.

    “Take that!, you wretched little JimmyChooChoos, you!”, he cried, as – with truly manic gusto interspersed with WildWhoops of Ecstasy – RoboRedaktor lunged ferociously… savagely… again and again… prying loose one tiny little burgundy stiletto from its ‘sole’ after another… until… until… he collapsed, sobbing, amidst the crimson carnage… his prideful quittance duly consummated.

  9. Bought a court ordered sale in mission…
    Property manager for the Banks came by…
    wondered why we were in the house…
    Bank had not told him it sold… two weeks ago…
    He removed the lock key holder.. we talked a bit…
    He said that he is currently managing about 337 foreclosed/court ordered sale property’s in Mission and Maple Ridge right now… that’s right… I asked three times just to make sure he didn’t mean 37… 337 is what he said.
    … said he was not able to provide a list of the property’s as the banks had forbidden him to disclose the list as part of his contract…, that’s in Maple Ridge and Mission… alone…

    That was Three Hundred and Thirty Seven property’s in just the two districts…
    WOW…Don’t see that in the news… or the real estate/assessment tax vultures sales lists…

    I love the little court ordered sale house we bought.. even have cash left over…Thanks folks…


    • Ralph Cramdown

      Now that you’ve got his card and you know what flavour of lockbox he prefers, you should be able to spot his clients’ properties from the street. Likely he posts a sign in the window “In case of emergency, call 604…” which allows you to verify if unsure.

  10. I loved Vancouver in the ’90s. Good ol’ days of free parking in Stanley Park and so on. I left West End in ‘97 , moved to East Van, then to a condo in Burnaby followed by townhome in New West few year after that….do you see a patter ? I work in Vancouver and use Skytrain since planing for cars ended here in the ’80 .The chickens in the back yards, back lane homes, bike roads and Olympic size debt took hold of this town. I never looked back to move into Van ….why would I ? This city is so cash strapped and in debt that is has no choice but call itself “world class”. Nobody even talks about the fact that taxpayers will be paying it off for the rest of their life and some – just not as sexy as going green…with no kids in town.

  11. Vancouver is the low-wage city ….people need decent jobs and that not Vancouver or BC

  12. “…. But now, I find it kind of lonely and hollow.”
    Actually not true, city is being restlessly populated with other nations.
    Judging by the number of top models of Germany cars, the city is not empty 🙂

    (C)”Selling England by the pound…” ?

  13. I know real estate prices are an easy target for why families are torn apart; of course one can simply rent…


    Affordable housing is only part of the problem, the other is Vancouver is a “niche” market, most of my university classmates have moved to other cities because the opportunities are better elsewhere. I’m not convinced that if there were no bubble they would be back.

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