“A vacation city for the world’s rich.. its citizens transformed into modern serfs.”

“Recruiting talent to this city is easy, but retaining it is not. The engine of startups and innovative businesses are its people, and when highly educated folks making six figures still can’t afford to live in your city (and it takes over an hour’s commute to get to downtown from slightly more affordable areas), you simply don’t have the conditions to grow a knowledge economy. Businesses like the one I work for typically move to more welcoming ecosystems, and so too with them will go the people that make up the vibrancy of the city. Indeed since 2012 British Columbia has experienced a net migration loss of young people, largely speculated to be directly a result of housing prices. …
A massive capital injection from abroad makes Vancouverites feel wealthy, while the city is in no real terms wealthier. Talented people continue to leave and with them the future of our city.”

– from The Decline of Vancouver, by Saeid Fard, March 2015 [hattip Zei]

19 responses to ““A vacation city for the world’s rich.. its citizens transformed into modern serfs.”

  1. Of my high school friends, only two of us remain in Vancouver. Most have moved to Europe or the US.

    Of my university friends, most have left Vancouver, and only 4 of us remain. A couple moved to remote parts of BC, a couple to the Island, one to Chilliwack, a couple to AB, several overseas, and a couple to the US.

    Same thing for my wife’s friends– most have left for the Island.

    Among my current group of local friends, some are considering moving to the FV or the Interior.

    If the current conditions persist, what kind of a city will we be left with? As our parents downsize and sell their houses to foreigners, the SFH neighbourhoods will be hollowed-out, and us “kids” will be able to use our inheritances to buy condos (heck, maybe a townhouse if our income’s high enough).

    My family income’s in the top 15%, and house ownership isn’t an option– unless we’re willing to take something on a busy street in a mediocre neighbourhood. Or unless we go all-in and specu-vest in a pile of properties, with the plan to eventually sell them all for the money to buy a house.

    • Don’t worry M. According to this blog, we should just leave everything the way it is. Government don’t need to intervene at all, let the rich foreigners come here, let there be zero limit on foreign investment. It will all implode and we will get our 75% crash regardless of government policy. All of your buddies and yourself will be laughing to the bank as you pick up that beautiful westside house in the prime kerrisdale neighbourhood for 500K or even less. Let’s just ignore that the entire westside might have only about 20000 single family homes total, but that’s clearly irrelevant.

      It’s just a matter of time.. you have waited so patiently, just wait a couple more years and it will be like winning the lottery as you watch all the home owners in a deep world of hurt. Just a bit longer to wait….

      • You are such a pretentious airbag.

      • How nice of you to bestow upon me such an elegant insult… you should have used the shakespearean insulter for better results.

        Umm…. is any of what I have said wrong? Did I not summarize you and vreaa’s position quite succinctly in that post? I thought it is your prediction that this would all implode in a couple (one to three years I believe were the exact words) years. So if you are so confident in your calls why would M worry? He really should just wait a couple more years and everything he wanted to own would be at his fingertips for a bargain.

        Isn’t this blog’s position that we need not worry because the “bubble” will sort itself out. If that is the case, why are you calling me out for stating this?

  2. Hmmm….I guess some people in Vancouver now realizes how it feels to be living in one of those vacation/retirement cities in Caribbean or Southeast Asia. Except people in those places seem to take it a bit more in stride and have a happier disposition than Vancouverites.

    As for hi-tech / knowledge based economy, how about paying people more to be on par with what people get paid in US? If the cost of living is about equal and taxes are higher here then why would I want to stay in Vancouver and make $100K when I can go to US and make $150K USD and maybe get rich from stock options? I doubt situation would change much if RE prices in general is halved. Remember the brain drain back in the 90s? House prices were 1/4 or less of what they are now and young talented people still left in droves.

  3. Studying ‘foreign ownership’ in Vancouver won’t explain why this mossy hovel costs C$2.4million

    “The exact framework and scope of the study – which is being handled by BC Housing, a crown corporation – hasn’t been made public, although The Province cited a focus on foreign home ownership.

    And that worries me”

    “Because the outcome of any study that focuses on foreign owners – while ignoring foreign wealth and earnings brought to Vancouver by immigrant buyers (including Canadian citizens) – seems predestined. Such a study would likely be a rip-roaring success if the goal is to produce reassuringly scant evidence of foreign ownership (and inspiring market boosters to shout “case closed!”, screwball comedy style).”

    • Wealth migration vs Foreign investment. One has a vested interested in the community one doesn’t.

      • True but again, neither matters for Vancouver RE according to El Ninja so no need to worry there…..Phew, almost had me scared there for a minute.

  4. Good talk on TED by Greece’s former Minister of Finance. Points out that there are trillions of $ sloshing around the world looking for a secure place. For many of these paranoid wealthy, just to preserve capital would be enough – but to make even close to the kind of insane returns we’ve seen in Vancouver – of course they’re going to put their $ here.
    Not only do I think there is no bubble in Vancouver, but that we’re just seeing the tip of the escalation of house prices – condos/townhouses are a different kettle of fish.
    I remember watching a doc on wine. One older Chinese guy would raise his arm at wine auctions when Burgundy was offered. He’d lower his arm when his was the top bid. There are 100 million wealthy Chinese. They’re not interested in Saskatoon.
    Sure, this is not Paris or London but, speaking as an older guy, I don’t want that busyness. I often ask myself where I’d live if I were wealthy. I don’t love this city, but I don’t know of a place more suitable.
    The article in this blog bemoaned the “decline of Vancouver” – I wonder if people in Palm Springs wish the rich would stop coming.
    Tycoon Kevin O’leary, who could live wherever he wants, lives in Boston. Gates lives in Nantucket. I don’t think either of these guys spend a lot of time outdoors.
    How about Bombay? Blows my mind that rich people would choose to live in that shithole; or Harbin – Anthony Bourdain spent time with a manic rich guy there, who was clearly quite happy. But what happens when he gets older? Is he going to stay in a place where temperatures drop to – 40? I don’t think so. He’ll cash out and come on down.

    • Why can’t the Harbin guy just go to Hainan which is like Asia Hawaii? Why does he have to come to Vancouver which is rainy and COLD for 6 months of the year? Heck, if he’s that rich, I think places like Bali, Philippines, etc would be even more attractive than Vancouver, especially with better & quicker access to healthcare, better weather, cheaper & great fresh food, and most importantly, almost endless supply of young, hot, eager kittens, or lady boys which a lot of older Europeans pervs seem to gravitate towards.

      And btw, Chinese are very interested in Sask, Manitoba, and even the Maritime provinces. Just not their houses.

  5. Good news everyone, the TOP of Van RE market is officially in!! Woohoo! You heard it on VancouverCondo.Info first. This is IT! Finally IT!!! The TOP!

    And if it is not, well there is always next year, and damn those stupid Chinese locusts for ruining the top.


  6. To go from living in a place that goes down to -40C, to places that are +40C – that is illogical. Interesting places to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there. Add to that the “strategic importance” of these areas, what is the likelihood that the U.S. military will play rough in that field after getting bored in some of its other war sandboxes?
    Vancouver has about the most ideal climate one could hope for, though it rains a lot in the winter. It’s also not great for open water swimming. If someone knows of places they consider ideal for this activity, I’d like to hear it.
    We got four real estate agent “Let me con you into getting your listing” come ons in the mail today. One was a new strategy and particularly devious – and not obviously stupid like Doody’s “Free Evaluation Certificates”. Seriously, these come ons should become known in the industry as giving someone a “Doody.”
    No, this highly contrived elaborate strategy consisted of handwriting on a fake sheet of legal paper, with the image of a leprechaun, and a picture of a gnomish guy called Fitzpatrick. His ploy is that is that he’s helping out a “builder friend”; instant cash; no inspection; no open house; free moving; no looky loos; blah blah blah.
    He also indicates that he has an antique store and can take your stuff off your hands. Checking his website indicates that he gives the “net proceeds” of sales to housing the homeless. But there is no definition of net proceeds. Just like some of the most lucrative money makers for owner/employees are non-profits”, so too are “net proceeds”.
    You have to take it on faith, i.e. be gully gully gullible, that this character, Fitzpatrick, has scripted this high production value real estate come on, printed 80,000 copies delivered by Canada Post (80,000 copies! Delivered! What does that cost?) and is going to give away some unspecified amount of cash – the “net proceeds”. Doesn’t say what his “builder friend” is going to do.
    C’mon lols (little old ladies) – get on that phone. Suck up that Irish charm.

    • Harbin goes up to around 28/30C in the summer, and places near oceans with breeze are not as hot as you think. Plenty of people survive in Hawaii in the summer.

      If that’s not to your liking, there is always the Mediterranean countries which also have good year round weather, and places like Greece/Cyprus are pretty damn cheap now too. But safety is not as good.

      People adapt and frankly getting used to hot weather is a lot easier than dealing with cold weather, especially when air conditioning is so cheap now, or you can just hire personal fan girls to spoil you 24/7.

  7. Salient in Fitzpatrick’s “Doody Award” winning real estate plus chattels come on is his fake sincerity greeting: “Hello, Happy New Year”. New Year? This is February – and I doubt he means Year of the Monkey.
    That means this gnome has been plotting for a long time, but got held up in execution. How long did this leprechaun premeditate? Is anyone dumb enough to bite? Is one of the 80,000 Doody baits going to hook a fish?

  8. Hainan, Bali, Phillipines … Haven’t been, but I spent four months in Tamil Nadu and over a month in Sri Lanka – met Arthur C. Clarke at his home in Colombo. Did I get used to the weather? I was there in the summer. Holy MFG. Like opening an oven door when the wind blew.
    Liked the food in Colombo – a lot. Beach was good too, but don’t recall anyone swimming in the water. Sharks? Undertow? Do recall getting chunks of tar stuck to my feet – from oil spills I presume. Not too excited about the monsoons, typhoons and shattering poverty. Staggering poverty. Mind-blowing poverty.
    Do like the European side of the Mediterranean – have often regretted not going to Alexandria when I was in Egypt. Was also on the Moroccan side – Agadir, Rabat, Casablanca, Meknes. Wild trip through the Atlas mountains – definitely wouldn’t want to live in Morocco.
    I’m a Canadian but don’t really feel part of this “culture”. I grew up playing hockey – but to watch it? Beyond boring. Glad that zombie Harper character is gone though. What are we? Americans without guns? Hate how Canada, like everywhere else, is owned by plutocrat maggots. The Irvings own the Maritimes. “Greedy Jim” owns BC.
    How to defend against billionaire bullies – the economic Ceausescus and Khadaffis? Love what happened to those turkeys. And that Filipino scumbag Marcos and bag of shit wife – makes me wish there was a hell. How long before North Korea’s reigning turd gets whacked? And those royal highness assholes that own most of the world and their dickhead-hat-wearing church conspirators – for you, I also wish there were a hell.

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