Wake Up Canada! – Countries By Population Density

The red square on the map above represents the amount of space it would take to provide every household in Canada with a 66ftx122ft lot (which is twice the size of a standard Vancouver lot).

Population density (people per square km):

Monaco 18,589
Singapore 7,797
Hong Kong 6,644
Taiwan 650
South Korea 513
Netherlands 412
India 401
Israel 394
Philippines 347
Japan 335
United Kingdom 268
Germany 232
Nigeria 208
Italy 201
China 144
Denmark 134
France 123
Portugal 112
Jordan 111
Austria 105
Turkey 102
Egypt 93
Spain 92
Iraq 85
Greece 82
Morocco 77
Croatia 74
Mexico 63
Yemen 54
Iran 49
South Africa 43
United States 33
Canada 4 (yes, four — not a typo)

C’mon people! Open your eyes! Think!
– vreaa

Fun Facts:
Did you know that Vancouver Island is bigger than Belgium?
If the entire population of Canada moved to Vancouver Island, the population density there would be 1,145 people per square km.
If the entire population of Canada moved to the island of Newfoundland, the population density there would be identical to that of Japan (330 people per square km) and less than that of the Philippines, Israel, India, the Netherlands and South Korea.

Related post: ‘Land: Not Making Any More; Don’t Need To’ (2011)

The amount of space it would take to provide every person on the planet with a standard Vancouver size lot.

69 responses to “Wake Up Canada! – Countries By Population Density

  1. (Comment stuck in moderation?)

    • I can’t find any comment stuck in moderation for this thread. Please repost.

      • Tried again twice, but not seeing post. =(

      • Still can’t see them.
        FYI, some posts are automatically held for moderation, sometimes for reasons that I can’t figure, other times for obvious reasons (eg too many links). But, if I check the blog inner workings, I easily see anything held back — the two posts you mention didn’t come through. Is there a filter on your side??

  2. Yes, yes, but Vancouver’s supply of land is limited, and we all know that the whole world wants to move there because it’s the BPOE. Vancouver is “hemmed in” by mountains and water (to dredge up a classic pseudo-analysis of the market).

    Thus, the Econ 101 dropouts on this blog think like this: supply is fixed (it’s not, but for the sake of my argument we can say it is) and demand is rising. Hence, prices will rise forever!

    But demand is not immune to cyclicality. Residents can and do move elsewhere — places where land is more plentiful. There has been an exodus of families to the Island, Squamish, the interior, and outside Canada. They have voted with their feet.

    So far, entrants have outnumbered them, but there comes a point when the balance shifts and overall demand goes from rising to falling. Falling prices, in turn, will discourage new entrants and force the hand of the most indebted current owners, begetting further price declines in a self-fulfilling loop. This will go on until the reverse happens: low prices attract outsiders, and prices rise.

  3. oh my, you discovered the secret. why don’t you lead?

    think, people, think! let make the rocky becomes serviceable land and build – they will come.

    or bears can do it the ice-age time, live in tents with pine on top in the middle of agriculture land. well, bears will demand wifi so they can post more discovery, or “opportunity cost” related matters.

  4. Err.. there is land and then there is land within distance of amenities. It is the amenities that brings people. You have super cheap housing in interior of BC but you couldn’t get an immigrant to settle there except refugees. I am stating this like a broken record. There is a good reason why I ONLY focus on four areas of Vancouver. Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and West Van. These four areas are primarily powered by immigrant money and immigration. If you think that locals can sustain this price range you are dreaming, locals haven’t and will never be the driver of this market. I have consistantly stated this. It is only properties that are sustained by immigration and immigration money (not foreign investment, there is a HUGE difference) that can sustain this levels. Part of this is because a lot of immigrants we bring in don’t find this price point particularly expensive. You go anywhere in Asia and compare prices with what you get you are looking at similar prices. It is only when you start looking at prices against other cities then you get a difference. But frankly, many of these immigrants I talk to have tried living in other cities and almost all of them have come back. They can’t stand it elsewhere despite the low costs.

    One of the main reasons why you have such a fast and dramatic demographic shift is what Ninja is talking about. Which is that people move. And most of the people doing the moving are locals. Sure there are land outside of Vancouver but there is a reason why Richmond’s demographics have shifted this fast. It is because whereas locals find places like Langley appealing, the immigrants don’t. So what you will have is a continuous exodus of locals and a continuous influx of immigrants. Most of these from asian cities where property prices are on par or higher but standard of living is lower. So hence they find this price quite cheap in reality.

    Btw, the other day I was at Stanley park and one of the stands on the seawall had a downtown skyline picture from 20 years ago. You look at it and the skyline is completely different. There is no way you could have built this new skyline without massive money from abroad. In a city where you have basically no industry, where do you get the money to have such a nice downtown? Well, take it from elsewhere.

    • Source of money:
      1. Import it (I agree with that point of yours);
      but we should also add
      2. Create it from nothing (mortgage lending)

    • “There is land and then there is land within distance of amenities. It is the amenities that brings people.”

      Do you think amenities are fixtures like rocks in the ground? People build them. And more of them are being built all the time in new places. Do you think Vancouver always had amenities? It used to be a forest.

      “continuous exodus of locals and a continuous influx of immigrants”

      In investing, beware of the word, “continuous”. It’s akin “can’t lose”.

      • True, i agree, and now the valley has nice amenities too. However, as is proven by the demographics, wealthier immigrants just like it better here. That isn’t about to change. As for locals, like I said, I don’t expect them to power this market going forward. They haven’t been.

        As for the continuous comment. Sure, it may stop, just like how the chinese stopped going to places like Singapore. I always wondered how in the world did a place so far from china become so chinese. But alas, I should rephrase, the demographic projections for the next 15 years tells me it will continue, how is that.

        Besides, with little potato in charge, his one economic policy is to rely on immigration to power the growth. This isn’t going to change any time soon.

  5. Yes, I heard the North is great, especially beyond the Great Wall. Sure you have to deal with some Wildings every now and then, and maybe offer some sacrifice to the White Walkers. But aside from, things are just awesome up North. Makes real men out of fat blubbery man-child too.

  6. So, admonishing bears for missing the best decade of Van RE is cherry-picking, but picking one of the best and some would say more irrational period of stock market performance isn’t?? So, El Ninja, how much $$$ have you made over the last decade? I’m really curious cuz it seems like predicting future performance comes so easily and natural to you.

  7. white_angelos_spare_canadiana

    i’m overvalued, you’re overvalued, this whole world is overvalued! … hey, what’s this? … extra, extra largo?? … http://tinyurl.com/y6uglcwa

  8. @El Ninja, you do realize that the cost of building amenities isn’t same everywhere right? Trying building modern Vancouver type amenities in middle of nowhere in Interior BC with no river or underground water table in 50 km? Good luck. The cost of the water pipes are going to be astronomical. Try doing that in the territories…

    • See caveat, it’s all attached housing that is being developed. The more density you place on the land, the more expensive the land itself becomes. Are we going into this again? What you think that the site zoned for a 36 storey tower is worth the same as one zoned for a detached home? So yes, while we can make vancouver more dense, it still doesn’t take away that the days of the detached in Vancouver numbered and the land value on a per sq foot basis increases as its density goes up.

      • So, Vancouver densifies along a few commercial corridors, where having a SFH sucks anyway.

        Not a reason to go out and buy a SFHs anywhere else.

      • the reason why you want to buy a SFH is because you want one. There is a lifestyle choice of having a nice backyard where your kids can have green space and not have to worry about anything. That is a luxury, not a must have. The issue with Vancouver is that it’s all nice and dandy to be building along the commercial corridors (not a few, many), you should be building the right stuff, ie. family oriented 3 bedroom properties. They have been building 1 to 2 bedrooms like insane and if you look at the supply the family oriented properties are lacking. So basically, if you have a couple of kids and don’t make at least 250K a year or already own a 3 bedroom property, good luck staying in Vancouver.

        Btw, Vancouver’s choice of builds automatically squeezes local families out. That is only accelerating the exodus from Vancouver proper. But where there is loss, there is also gain as many immigrants swoop in to buy up the properties.

    • The article should read redevelopable land. And if you lived in the city, you would see that Vancouver is adding density all over, as it has done so to deal with population increases for decades. But don’t let that stop you, a non resident from telling those of us who live here that it’s only a few houses on commercial corridors. Don’t take the word of us who live and work here about what’s going on in our own city.

      After all, when land goes up 30 percent a year for a couple of years, that has nothing to do with its density potential, it’s just those speculators bidding it up.

      • “After all, when land goes up 30 percent a year for a couple of years, that has nothing to do with its density potential, it’s just those speculators bidding it up.”


  9. Ralph Cramdown


    “I was there,” [Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa] told an audience member worried about losing equity in his home because of new provincial rules. “I was an investor and I held property [in the late 1980s and early 1990s] and we know what happened then. I had to suffer through that. In fact, I ended up buying a few extra as a result of the downturn in the economy.”


    • #FunnyYouShouldSayThat,Or… #BuyingAFewExtra…

      • [SCMP] – In London, foreign investors from Hong Kong and beyond are buying homes at ‘alarming’ rate, study reveals: Investors from Hong Kong and Singapore accounted for almost half of all transactions by foreign buyers, who bought thousands of homes suitable for first-time buyers

        …”Foreign investors are buying up thousands of homes suitable for first-time buyers in London, using them as buy-to-let investments and often holding them in offshore tax havens, research for the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has revealed.

        Led by investors from Hong Kong and Singapore, foreign buyers snapped up 3,600 of London’s 28,000 newly built homes between 2014 and 2016, about 13 per cent, according to the most comprehensive survey yet of international investment in London housing. About half of those were priced for first-time buyers between £200,000 (US$255,000) and £500,000.

        The average cost of a home in the capital bought by a first-time buyer is now £405,000, according to Lloyds bank, almost double the national average. A third of new homes in the prime central London boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and the City were also sold abroad.

        The findings triggered calls for the mayor and London boroughs to block foreign buyers until Londoners have had an opportunity to buy. The HomeOwners Alliance, which represents current and would-be homeowners, said the trend was “alarming” and “unfair” to first-time buyers.

        In Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Wandsworth, where the highest number of homes are under development, one in eight of all new homes were bought by foreign buyers.

        More than 70 per cent of the homes bought by foreigners were as rental investments and in 15 per cent of cases the properties were bought by companies, one in six of which were in the offshore tax havens of the British Virgin Islands, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands, according to the research by the University of York and the London School of Economics.”…


      • [Guardian] – Foreign investors snapping up London homes suitable for first-time buyers: Research for London mayor, Sadiq Khan, shows homes being used as buy-to-let investments and being held in off-shore tax havens


  10. Apparently all the developers are stupid, overpaying millions of dollars for land. Think of all the money wasted if they only followed El Ninja’s advice and buy land based on prices of SFH + lot only, rather than paying huge premiums because they plan to build TH, Condos, etc on it. They could have paid $1.5M – $2M per lot along Cambie back in days, rather than the $3M-$4M. Or right now in Marpole, paying $1M for each duplex or $2M for the lot, rather than $2M+ for each duplex. After all, a lot is a lot, it’s value doesn’t change whether it has a SFH or a 10 storey condo sitting on top of it.

    • Didn’t you know, Ninja knows way more than the developers. Who cares that they have been in this business for decades and have made more money than everyone on this blog combined. He knows the fsr, the zonings, the community plans, the number of sfh’s… oh.. wait…

  11. I honestly don’t get this original post. Notice on your list that china has a 144 person per sq kilometre and monaco 18000 per sq kilometre. So are we supposed to expect that beijing is going to be 100 times cheaper than monaco? If your logic is based on people per sq kilometres, tell me how beijing and shanghai or any chinese first line city has a price to income ratio of about 20 or 30 to 1? This is in a country where they actually actively build new cities unlike Canada. But notice how no one wants to live in those new cities despite the lower prices.

    • The main point is a far more general one: we are not running out of land in Canada. Anybody who tells you we are either isn’t thinking or is trying to sell you something.

      • Agreed, we are not running out of land in CANADA. But… there is a good reason why you have had no additional SFH construction in vancouver proper and burnaby proper in the last what, ten years? What you have seen is already locals shifting to places like Surrey over the last few years. But that hasn’t stopped Vancouver prices from increasing has it? There is a good reason for that.

        It’s like saying that China is not running out of land. That is true, but it doesn’t stop Beijing prices from keep on increasing. Because people don’t want to be in Inner Mongolia where there is a ton of land, they want to be in Beijing. In ten years, the best performing real estate in China will still be in Beijing and Shanghai doesn’t matter where the country decides to expand to.

      • We have tons of land in Canada. 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of the border with the U.S., and 80% of Canadians live in cities. Urbanization is a global trend, and living in semi rural and rural areas clearly doesn’t appeal to the majority of Canadians.

        The day may come when it is truly viable and even desirable to live away from cities. If solar technology and energy efficiency evolves to the point where a small affordable panel and storage battery can provide reliable power for a household, and online shopping becomes affordable to far flung places, cities may become less relevant. It seems unlikely for some time yet, and the face to face efficiencies of city life for all kinds of human endeavors will be with us for a long time. Vancouver and Toronto are very popular places to live, according to the voice of the market and that will not change soon.

      • who ever said canada running out of land? Are you sure “you are thinking”?
        good luck to find more serviceable land that connects to the sewer system, water system, electrical networks, road network etc…
        there is a lot of land in the north, why don’t you take your herd to move up there? i am sure el nino can help you to calculate “trajectory opportunity cost”.

        by the way, el nino, they are going to rezone the oak+cambie for new 11,500 units. are you sure they are gonna take out 11,500 single lots to accommodate these 11,500 units so stats does not change? LOL !

        “trying to sell you something.” sell what? inventory is all time low – any affordable condo runs in many offers. get out once a while, vreaa.

      • “Vancouver and Toronto are very popular places to live”.

        You could have said that in the 50s, 60s, 70s, etc. It’s meaningless. The whole point of this discussion is not to dispute empty generalizations, it’s to address the fact that prices in recent have diverged and gotten very severely out of whack with long-term economic fundamentals.

      • “economic fundamentals”

        are you seriously for real? it was “opportunity cost” previously, now it’s “economic fundamentals”.

        why don’t you go having a chat with your master vreaa, and see how has economic fundamental worked out for him/her since 2008.

        let me guess, the next one you will throw out is “misallocation of resource” , and “reversing to the mean” .

        don’t pull your head out of the sand, you would be better to keep it there.

  12. Vancouver and Toronto were affordable in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to a blue collar single income family. Those days are long gone. The global popularity of Vancouver changed for good in 1986, and its popularity has dramatically altered the city physically and price wise in terms of long term fundamentals. Not meaningless.

    • What did Vancouver prices do post-1986? For the next eight years they rose, and then they fell and stagnated and didn’t recover for another ten years. Not exactly a “dramatic alteration”.

      Vancouver’s bubble began to form in the mid-2000s, fully 20 years after the supposedly tectonic event of Expo.

      In investing, beware of language like “those days are long gone”. It’s a variation on the dangerous “it’s different this time”.

    • Stagnated at close to 400k … not at all affordable for a blue collar single income family. Those days are long gone.

      • Vancouver has always been relatively expensive and, for a long time, hasn’t been especially affordable for blue collar workers. So? This, like so many other tangential observations made by bulls, does not mean that current prices do not represent a gigantic bubble.

  13. So apparently stagnant now means a loss that has to be recovered? What kind of weird logic is that?? Ontario has a proper RE crash and took 2 decades to recover (according to Garth). I bet they would have loved a stagnant RE prices.

  14. So hands up if anyone like to live in the territories or anywhere in BC where there isn’t another person around for 10 kms and lands are under $5K an acre? C’mon VREAA and El Ninja, I’m sure those are affordable prices for you, and services is no issue since we can build that anywhere. No? Not interested? really? I wonder why?

  15. You know what’s the problem of living in a small town? If you ever need to see a medical profession beyond a family doctor, good luck! If you want to retire to some places that’s really cheap and have that important sense of community? You better hope you have really good health, and medical transports are available 24/7. Oh, don’t forget having extra cash stashed away for hotels expenses for your spouse / caretaker.

    Not saying you can’t do it, but until we get Star Trek level medical care, I probably don’t want to retire to a small town in my 70s/80s.

  16. Update for bears: cities and related infrastructure came into being by the hand of God. They will never be expanded upon, or built in new places. All the cities that there are today are all the cities that there ever were, and ever will be. Time to get a loan and get your RE mojo on!

  17. So what’s the problem then. Lots of space for everyone.

  18. white_angelos_spare_canadiana
  19. In breaking news, the Vancouver SFH market proves it’s ongoing desirability, shaking off the foreign buyers tax with an 8.2 percent year over year increase in May.


    • This market will collapse under its own weight, no matter which steps are taken by government.

      As for “desirability”, it’s important to correctly define and contextualize the term. In a normal market, prices reflect the intrinsic attractiveness of housing as a place to live. In Vancouver’s ultra-distorted market, however, one wonders whether price gains instead signal fear of missing out, greed, quick riches, etc. — a very different, and very unsustainable, meaning of the term.

      • here comes the armchair economist again…have you calculated opportunity cost for this one yet? have no fear, son. you are screwed either way!

      • Airhead Fred never grasped concept of opportunity cost–explains why he lives in a trailer and has to hijack his neighbour’s wifi to troll me. I really do like the name “keyboard-courage”, though. That was good for a chuckle.

      • Wonder why the arm chair economist never preach supply and demand. Skipped this lecture?

  20. “Retired” short seller Marc Cohodes schedules an emergency meeting with his chickens when shares in Home Capital surged 12.7% on Thursday. Cluck cluck, said Mr. Cohodes, I’ve just been attempting a bear raid out of the pure goodness of my heart, not to make money. No way would I do this to make money. Cluck cluck, said his chickens.

    • white_angelos_spare_canadiana

      cohodes = pro, specializes in shorting frauds … likely covered on the break … might even be reloading on a bounce, if reason presents … you/we don’t know … however you want to interpret, have to concede this is making $s for the right reasons, beneficial

  21. Where was Cohodes during the three decades that Madoff perpetrated the biggest fraud in history.

    • Chile-con-Arnie assigns Cohodes God-like powers, holds him personally responsible for alerting society to every fraud ever committed.

  22. white_angelos_chickenfried_equity

    dunno but kinda hard to short madoff … why did bc libs tour asia then issue rmb bonds? … dunno but major smell test fail

  23. “Ninja” cluck clucking between ogling Buffet in a pink Speedo and Cohodes in his pink shirt.
    Out of all the so-called financial experts and stock pickers – who warned about the 2008 crash – Brooksley Bond. And the powermongers shut her down.
    The basement dwellers remain – worshipping billionaire parasites – “investing” in the stock market. Suckers.

    • Conspiracy theorist Arnie thinks buying shares in profitable businesses is a “scam”, embraces instead the very real scam that is Van RE speculation. Will pay a steep price for it.

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