Jun 17 2007

Unsustainable living in Vancouver

A two-storey home in Vancouver now costs the average Canadian about 70 per cent of their pre-tax income – not including the down payment.

That kind of home is now worth a figure creeping relentlessly upwards to $700,000. That basically means I could win the lottery, buy a very nice house in central Vancouver, and probably still count on having to work until 55.

To locals intent on getting a piece of land somewhere close to the center of our fair city, the latest real estate buzz is not exactly news. Most of us hard-core urban dwellers who aren’t doctors, lawyers, or people who steal the financial identity of doctors and lawyers have pretty much given up on the dream of a nice house with a white picket fence. Perhaps that will come in retirement, as we cash in our tiny city condos in our old age to buy mansions in Kelowna in sort of a reversal of the usual downsizing retirement trend.

Forget about affordable housing for the poor. How about affordable housing for urban professionals?

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Unsustainable living in Vancouver”

  1. on 17 Jun 2007 at 3:19 am

    too much rain in Vancouver…..sorry, but that’s the truth.

  2. on 17 Jun 2007 at 3:35 am

    No need to apologize. Assuming that you live outside of Vancouver, us locals are intimately acquainted of our wonky weather.

  3. on 17 Jun 2007 at 3:36 am

    Part of the problem is the foreign infusion of money from Asia and the eagerness of the multiculturalists to foist such an influx upon B.C. in such a short time span. The resultant effect is an increasing level of hostility and an undercurrent of anger in what used to be a chill province.

    The other problem is land availability. The restriction of just where people can live in such a small area is much different than Toronto where sprawl extends all points north, east, west, south…. well, not south literally into Lake Ontario.

    This means that as Vancouver revs up yet another of their 65,000 construction projects, housing prices go up and up and up and up. Some experts warn it will crash sometime after 2010, and maybe Canadians can afford homes again.

    But so long as rich people from Hong Kong can buy property and rent it for the profit off Canadian backs, prices will be high. Affordable housing comes with available housing. In the GVA there’s not a lot of available or affordable housing, meaning that a great many Canadians who may have been around for a great many generations, may have to pay rent to an immigrant.

    I guess Vancouverites are beginning to know what the aboriginals felt like.

  4. on 17 Jun 2007 at 4:04 am

    If I understand you correctly, you are concerned that “true” Canadians are being displaced by Asians and that the “locals” are threatened by some kind of racial tidal wave.

    Frankly, I’m a little put off by the tone your comment, implying that immigrants who have worked hard to overcome the high hurdles to get in here and have made an explicit commitment to citizenship are somehow less Canadian than people who were born here.

    Is that what you are suggesting, or am I misreading you?

    I’d remind you that we are a nation of immigrants. That includes my own ancestors, as well as my own wife, of Hong Kong Chinese extraction. I had no problem “paying rent to an immigrant” when I first arrived in this city, and certainly don’t resent currently being employed by one.

    There is no credible threat that Canadians on the Pacific Coast are going to be wiped out and “replaced” a la the First Nations, for the simple reason that 98 per cent of our population will not overnight succumb to foreign germs. As a result, immigrants are assimilated into our nation, not the other way around.

    Thus, this undercurrent of anger (which simply does not exist in the mainstream of society as far as I can tell) which you posit seems to be without basis.

    Yes, foreign investors are buying up condos, driving up the price for people looking for their first home. But this merely speeds up a trend that has been happening for thirty years, as people from all over this continent move here.

  5. on 17 Jun 2007 at 4:51 am

    Is that what you are suggesting, or am I misreading you?

    Half and half. I don’t deny I believe there is too much Asian presence in the Pacific rim city of Vancouver, but I think that, like any demographic, they present both a positive and negative effect on the lives of Canadians.

    implying that immigrants who have worked hard to overcome the high hurdles to get in here and have made an explicit commitment to citizenship

    I do welcome those who make a commitment, not only to “citizenship”, which for many Chinese is the golden ticket to sponsor their entire family here, but to those who truly value Canada.

    I also think you overstate the “hurdles” of many immigrants. As you yourself pointed out, Canadians face these same hurdles and obstacles in their own country. Worse than this, they often don’t have the support and help of, let’s say, a organization dedicated to ESL and specialty services for immigrants.

    As a result, immigrants are assimilated into our nation, not the other way around.

    Are you certain? It doesn’t seem this way at all. Assimilation is not a word that seems to apply to the modern multiculturalist Canada. Of course, I could be wrong. We’ll have to see in fifty years or so.

    But this merely speeds up a trend that has been happening for thirty years, as people from all over this continent move here.

    It’s true that the jewel of Canada has invited people from the world over. But I think if you do not feel the undercurrent of unease in the city, you are not really paying attention. The road rage, the immigrant ghettos in which English is not spoken, the construction, the gridlock, the increasing ethnic crime, the growth of Surrey and Richmond, the exodus of whites from VanCity into the GVA and Fraser Valley… well, it’s enough to make one happy to be in Toronto.

    That is, until one looks at Brampton and Mississauga. Same old problems, different pile.

  6. on 17 Jun 2007 at 6:45 am

    You might have to work until you’re 55? Clearly you’re being ripped off. Suck it up Princess.

  7. on 18 Jun 2007 at 5:14 am

    “I don’t deny I believe there is too much Asian presence in the Pacific rim city of Vancouver…”

    RacĀ·ism

    NOUN:

    1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
    2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

  8. on 18 Jun 2007 at 7:10 am

    Yeah, that would suck living in a condo in Yaletown and then cashing in and moving to a mansion in Kamloops. Wait, what?

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