Young professionals leaving Vancouver for high cost of housing


VANCOUVER – Iain Reeve and his wife moved from a rented house to a rented house in Vancouver, but their final solution to safe housing was moving to Ottawa and buying two houses – one for them and one for their parents.

He and his wife, Cassandra Sclauzero, are professionals in their 30s who wanted to start a family but could not afford to buy it in the city.

"We wanted to have a home for stability, peace of mind and flexibility," Reeve said.

"The rental market had no stability. We both settled on good first jobs. But as much as we love the city and had these connections, it was not worth it. "

They were expelled from some places in three years because of their own fault, he said, adding that it was because people were selling or selling properties.

Reeve grew up and went to college in Vancouver.

"I also have parents who live in the Vancouver area who do not own a home and are hardworking and not a ton of money saved for retirement, and I'm an only child," he said. We could not even put our feet on the door in terms of stable housing. "

Reeve said he knows several people who are thinking of leaving town simply because of the real estate market.

"Life is a challenge enough, it's so difficult when you have insecurity (housing) all the time."

Statistics show that Vancouver and B.C. generally are losing skilled workers to other parts of the country.

CMHC spokeswoman Leonard Catling said one of the main reasons why people between the ages of 21 and 25 arrive at Metro Vancouver is to go to university, but they move as they get older.

A December issue of Statistics Canada shows that B.C.'s population crossed the five million mark for the first time due to international migration.

However, it lost about 1,200 people to other provinces in the third quarter of 2018 after 21 quarters of earnings. Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia had the highest population gains in other provinces.

Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, said Vancouver is capable of attracting people early in their careers, whether for education or a job, but has a problem with retaining talent.

Even if they earn a relatively high salary, he says he can not afford anything other than condominiums.

"In a world like this, the workforce has options," he said, noting that other provinces offer much more housing for their wages.

Finance Minister Carole James said in an interview "there is no question that Vancouver is facing a brain drain."

"The crisis is not a very strong word to describe the challenges we are facing, not just in Vancouver, but in other urban locations around our province," she said.

In her budget speech last year, she said young professionals are leaving the province because they do not find housing.

Yan said Vancouver is losing people in certain age groups. Those between the ages of 35 and 45 are usually at the peak of their careers and thinking about their first or second child. But they may still have to split up if they stay in Vancouver, he said.

"It does not look cool when you're 37 and have a roommate."

In its December report on the real estate market, the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board has fixed the average price of an isolated home at just over $ 1 million. An apartment cost about $ 664,100 and an attached house stood at about $ 809,700.

The BC Assessment figures, the Crown agency that develops and maintains property valuations in the province, show that the real estate market is moderating with the estimated value of some homes in Metro Vancouver falling by about 10%.

Nationally, experts said that higher interest rates and a new mortgage stress test also had an impact on real estate prices across the country.

Yan said that despite the changes that are taking place in the Vancouver area, it is still inaccessible.

Kevin Olenick, who is in his 40s, returned to Vancouver earlier this year. He grew up in Calgary and spent about six months in Kamloops.

"I'm one of the minorities who would say coming back here makes sense," he said, adding that the creative field he works for provides more opportunities in Vancouver than elsewhere.

But he said he understands the challenges of living in Vancouver.

"It's especially hard to find a home and buy a house," he said. "I'm renting … but if you want to start a family, I can certainly understand why you're here. leaving Vancouver. "

B.C. Housing Ministry spokeswoman Melanie Kilpatrick said the government has announced measures that are helping to cool the housing market and moderate prices with a 30-point housing plan.

Yan said a study he did in 2018 shows that although home prices in Metro Vancouver were still the highest in Canada, average family income was the lowest. The study also showed that Vancouver remained the least accessible city in the country.

As property and rent are becoming increasingly difficult, other problems with the workforce are becoming clearer, he said.

James said the government is aware of the problem and working on it.

Jas Johal, the job critic for the B.C. Liberal Party, said the NDP government needs to focus on increasing the supply of housing, not taxes.

The NDP government has limited rent increases to 2.5% a year, starting this month. A speculation and vacancy rate was also introduced, aimed at moderating the real estate market and creating more homes for renters.

But Yan said neither the tax on speculation nor the tax on vacancies will make much of a difference, and if the city continues to lose workers, it will lose its competitive advantage.

"And I think one of the biggest challenges is how you build an economy – based on knowledge – when that population seems to be leaving the city?"


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