“My husband and kids are pretty happy in our rental house within cycling distance of work that we could never have afforded otherwise. We’re doin’ pretty dang well, thank you, for median income earners in this expensive city.”

“My husband and kids are pretty happy in our rental house within cycling distance of work that we could never have afforded otherwise. My husband is especially happy with the nest egg we’ve put away, and some day, my kids will be happy with their RESPs. We’re doin’ pretty dang well, thank you, for median income earners in this expensive city.
I have been priced out forever, according to any sane financial management strategy, for pretty much the whole time I’ve had a down payment. When the choice became “house poverty for family of four in a purchased 2 bedroom in Port Moody” vs. “responsible savings and a family of four in rental house with yard in Vancouver”, I thought something smelled funny in real estate. Still stinks, and will continue to stink, until prices adjust.”

Absinthe at VCI May 24th, 2013 at 9:06 am

33 responses to ““My husband and kids are pretty happy in our rental house within cycling distance of work that we could never have afforded otherwise. We’re doin’ pretty dang well, thank you, for median income earners in this expensive city.”

  1. Speaking of ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark [Hamlet (1.4.90), Marcellus to Horatio]’…. Here’s your FridayZen and Quote ‘O TheDay DearReaders…

    “It’s a file that is very unusual and complex and really does go back to the founding of Canada.” – Breanne Feigel, CP Director of Public Affairs

    [CBC] – CP Rail sues for mineral, timber rights on B.C. lands: Railway company says seeks damages and title for 800,000 acres

    …”CP Rail has launched an unprecedented lawsuit to reclaim timber and mineral rights on hundreds of thousands of acres of land in B.C. The railway filed the claim in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday against the province and hundreds of unnamed landowners and contractors.

    CP claims it never gave up resource rights on more than 800,000 acres of land it transferred to private owners and the province. CP Rail is sueing the B.C. government and hundreds of unnamed landowners for the mineral and forestry right to 800,000 acres of former railway land.

    The land — mostly in the Kootenays and Okanagan — was originally granted to the railway companies in the late 1800s.”…


    [NoteToEd: In other news… CP decides that the entire CoalHarbour redevelopment was actually a clerical error and has applied to CityHall for demolition and redevelopment permits… and, in the Okanagan, the Assembly of First Nations has raised a WarParty and encircled several TrailerParks… Given that the nearest cavalry outpost [LordStrathcona’s] is now in Edmonton – the beleaguered Albertan ‘wagoneers’ are not expected to prevail.]

    • Ralph Cramdown

      “Where a party sleeps on his rights and allows laches to set in, the same is fatal to his case.”

  2. pricedoutfornow

    I agree. You can live a pretty decent life (with savings and vacations!) if you rent a SFH in Vancouver (despite people who tell me it’s only possible to rent an upper or basement suite, this simply isn’t true). We’re looking to rent a SFH, have seen quite a few for with decent rents (compared to owning!) in this city, but we’re waiting for the perfect rental to come up in our particular neighbourhood (due to schools/daycare issues). I’m sure it will happen, we’re in no rush. If we never buy in Vancouver, I don’t care. My spouse recently admitted that it wouldn’t be so bad to leave the city, when the oldest child goes to college (8 years away), and in that case, we will probably be able to buy a house for cash or have a very low mortgage somewhere else in the province. Meanwhile people in Vancouver will be sadly paying their million dollar mortgages for the rest of their lives, and having absolutely nothing except that falling down house. That’s no way to live.

  3. 4SlicesofCheese

    Friends just moved into a SFH rental and the landlord just reno’d the floors, kitchen, bathroom and added a security system.
    Meanwhile the old landlord is being an ass about returning the damage deposit expecting the place to be spotless, and I have been to the place before and my friends are clean people. The old landlords have been asking my friends if they wanted to buy the townhouse for awhile, and the day after they moved out, the townhouse had an open house.

  4. UBCghettodweller

    Let’s give this person a round of applause. We usually read nothing but sadness and gnashing of teeth on this website. It’s good to see someone living a decent life and not financially annihilating themselves in the processes.

  5. Real Estate Tsunami

    With some many landlords being Chinese these days, I suggest you do some research into the different cultural nuances.
    My wife is Chinese and it has been a tremendous help in securing our current rental and maintaining a good relationship with our Chinese landlord.
    Patience is the key word.

  6. By far the best rentals, quality and price wise, are the ones you will never hear about or see advertised that are passed along between friends and acquaintances by word of mouth and personal referral. Difficult if you are new to the city but over time you should be able to find that one that you will “brag” about and allow you to save a substantial amount if you are diligent with your finances.

  7. Nothing wrong with renting. In San Francisco, 70% of the population there rent. Real estate prices are just as high there (difference is people actually make money there) as it is here. Property taxes are 1% of the value of your home. That means a 1 million dollar assessed property has taxes of 10K, whereas here, if you taxed most in Vancouver living in a 1 million dollar property 10K, they’d be in default. In San francisco though, rent is through the roof. A 2 BR in a not so great area of town goes for 4K plus.

  8. Another renter

    Good for you! I’m in the same boat and not finding as much success – planning to move out of the city in the next bit.

    It certainly is possible to find reasonable rentals of SFH, but via public sources my experience is they are few and far between for something of any quality. My guess is you’re paying in at least $2500 for what you’ve described and I find it hard to believe you are funding that with Vancouver’s median couples income of $73K…


    • pricedoutfornow

      We’ve been looking for a SFH for awhile now. Best deal we saw was in January for $1750, good area, fully reno’ed, 1.5 baths, 3 beds, big lot. Unfortunately we couldn’t move at the time so didn’t take that one. I see quite a few houses advertised on craigslist in COV for less than $2k per month-most recently we went to see a old tear down house advertised for $1900 (full house). When we arrived the owner said he’d decided to change the rent-to $1600! Was kind of dated though, but definitely livable (not a bad area either, but definitely the worst house on the street). Didn’t take that one either, I had my suspicions the guy would let us live there for a year then boot us out to tear it down.
      I say keep looking, you will find a SFH for rent for less than $2500 (recently I’ve seen a few in metrotown/new west area for about $1700 if you’re not too fussy about location). Patience….

    • “Outstanding, cadet!… No caning for you after supper! …unless you’d really enjoy one?”…

    • Damn but that was sweet! I’ll see your Loretta and raise you an Oyster…

      [NoteToEd: I’ve finally solved the riddle… As in, WTF happened to Vancouver between the 70’s and now? Clearly, everyone tripping to TheBlueOysterCult mistook the lyric for, “Don’t fear TheRealtor™”. Not for nothing, “Dazed & Confused”.]

  9. I think that Vancouver has a similar program: The City of Calgary has just raised the bar for “struggling low income families” that need help getting into housing to those making $90,000 or less. These poor people can now get subsidized by the City taxpayers. Poor, poor people driving around in their BMW’s…


    • Ralph Cramdown

      This is actually a program for struggling developers who are having trouble moving product. I’m sure that if such a thing was tried in Toronto, it’d be labelled socialism, but in Calgary, I guess it’s just straight up graft.

      The US had similar BS programs, called down payment assistance programs or ‘DAP’. Since the down payment couldn’t go directly from the seller to the buyer (that’d be a rebate), the seller would ‘donate’ to a charitable foundation which would ‘assist’ the buyer with the down payment, taking a fee and leaving the lender unknowingly holding a mortgage worth as much or more than the property. Kudos to Alberta for its innovative “git ‘er done” culture. The developers write cheques to the politicians, and the politicians vote to fund the down payments with taxpayer money.

      Cross another thing off the list of dubious practices from the USA that the industry claims we don’t do here.

      • That’s pretty much accurate.

        There were also recent issues with developers basically trying to buy seats on city council, in the upcoming fall elections, just so that they produce more heavily subsidized greenfield development on the fringes and get rid of the city requirements to pass building plans.

        It is quite troubling. But, what else can we expect in this day and age?

      • Just a thought mind you… but, the further out into ThePrairie they build those monstrosities… the more they’re tempting fate…

        [NoteToEd: My money’s on the Cree.]

      • Ralph Cramdown

        A followup, now that my post is out of purgatory (maybe I used one of the seven words you can’t say on the internet?)

        When they say these people have all the qualifications for home ownership except a down payment, it’s wise to keep in mind that low home equity is the #1 predictor of default. These future deadbeats have all the qualifications except the most important one.
        talks about delinquencies in the year after the loan was granted

      • [NoteToEd: An addendum solely for the sake of ArchivalIntegrity. Well… almost solely.]

  10. Vancouver has the worst living standards in the free world, vancouver has third world wages and third world housing/living conditions

  11. LOL @tedeastside. Hyperbole and delusion. You have obviously never been to any third world country and live in a very nice, safe, bubble. Housing in Vancouver is ridiculously overpriced, but your statement makes you look like a buffoon.

    • Vancouver creampuff metrosexual

      Vancouver is a decent 3rd tier city that is delusionally overpriced. A case of believing their own hype..

      • “What’s the matter, Colonel Sanders? Chicken?”

      • UBCghettodweller

        “Vancouver is a decent 3rd tier city that is delusionally overpriced. ”

        How about a 2.5th tier city. Edmonton and Calgary would be third tier. Toronto and Montreal would be secondish. Or maybe I’m not understanding the ranking system…. Winnipeg would be in a tier of it’s own 😉

      • [NoteToEd: Just a hunch… but I don’t think ArtTV is going to find it’s way on to Shaw’s schedule anytime soon. MilleniumSoon. I’m so conflicted… I was thinking Ecuador… But Denmark’s definitely in the running now.]

      • Vancouver creampuff metrosexual

        YVR Housing Analyst

        It is not so much as rating as it is about common sense :). I hear the “BPOE” rant mostly from people who have not traveled much or from wide-eyed immigrants for whom any place but their country (for many reasons including fraud etc.) would be the BPOE.

      • Meh, let such types be happy with what they have. Sometimes the only way to win is not to play.

  12. I rented a good upper in central lonsdale “that was passed down between friends”. Tweet me if you want to call the landlady as we just moved out. This blog is my friends to pass it to. @zerodown0.

    $1500 2 bed, large yard, garage, storage, new gas fire, and all new windows. Not fancy. 900 sq ft.

  13. I’m not sure that this truly qualifies as SundayMorning ‘Zen’… but for those of our DearReaders who were either unaware of or uncertain as to the origins of this week’s ‘Fuss&Bother’ in Istanbul/Ankara… here’s your BackGrounder…

    “They have declared war on us… This is out of all proportion.” – Istanbul ShopKeeper [while dispensing lemon juice to teargassed protesters]

    [UK Guardian] – Turkey protests spread after violence in Istanbul over park demolition

    …”What started at the beginning of the week as an environmental protest aimed at saving an Istanbul city centre park from shopping centre developers backed by the government appeared to be snowballing into a national display of anger at the perceived high-handedness of the Erdogan government.

    …The protest was unusual in that it brought together young and old, the rightwing and leftists, and nationalist Turks and Kurds. They complained of issues beyond the planned shopping centre from government policy on the war in neighbouring Syria to new curbs on alcohol and a recent row about kissing in public.

    “We are fed up,” said Cansu Kahvecioglu, a student. “They don’t give us any breathing space anymore.”…


    [NoteToEd: It’s always about the RealEstate.]

  14. chumpy le chump

    i am currently renting in West Van. it has been difficult to find decent, “affordable” rental accommodation on the north shore. For a few hundred more per month, you could own the place. Which is what i will be doing as my offer for a place down the street has been accepted.

    Went for 23% below the list price. Owner been in the place for 11 years, and over that time, the value of the property increased on average 5% a year. I negotiated hard, walked away twice, and eventually the seller caved, just like i knew he would.

    i’ve been renting for 5 years now, ever since a health crisis with one of my young children moved me back here. i was the bear amongst all my peers who are all “owning”. I still think there will be a crash in the Lower Mainland- but i think it will be an uneven crash. Certain areas will crash worse than others. I don’t think the entry level house market in West Van will crash. I think it will take a 10-15% drop and then move sideways or at inflation for a generation.

    there is some value in staying in one place.

    • pricedoutfornow

      ” For a few hundred more per month, you could own the place”

      Really? I’d be curious to see the numbers. I’m not doubting you, I don’t follow the north shore at all, but I know here in COV, the numbers don’t make sense at all-whenever I go to an open house, I run the price with a $100k downpayment and add all the strata fees (if any, for SFH, the differential is even greater than condos/townhouses) etc, and I never come even close to what the place would rent for-often it’s cheaper to rent by 50%.
      I had a friend say the same thing to me about a place she ended up buying in the Okanagan-completely different market though-there, renting and owning are nearly the same, but quality is definitely not there: you can rent a much better place with the money you would spend to buy a place of much lesser quality. So I have friends who are pleased they bought, but the places they ended up buying are well, not great (old and never renovated).
      The thing that concerns me about “only a few hundred more per month” would be what happens when interest rates rise (granted, if they ever do)? Could end up being substantially more in that case…and also what about property tax, strata fees (if any) etc etc. Just curious. Good on you for sticking to your guns and walking away, sounds great!

  15. People who crunch the numbers came to the conclusion long ago that from a cash flow perspective (i.e., not allowing for off the mean capital appreciation) it was better to rent than to own. That also means that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest in rental property if you believe in fundamentals.

    With the changes in mortgage rules that we’ve seen over the course of this market there’s probably some differing ideas of what is “affordable” or what makes sense, so I’m curious what others think.

    When would you recommend renting versus buying? When rent equals monthly purchase costs payment (mortgage, maintenance, taxes) and 25% down payment? 10% down? 30% down?

    Another interesting side to this question is that of affordable housing for renters. Once we eliminate homeless people (wait, I didn’t mean it like that) we all either rent or own. Owning is more expensive in a lot of cases (arguably all, depending on how you factor in opportunity cost). With calls for everything from more affordable rental housing at below market rents to rent controls for commercial real estate I’m curious how increasing the housing costs for owners (through taxation) in order to reduce rental costs makes sense.

    VREAA – glad to see you back. Hope you enjoyed the rest.

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