I love Vancouver but could I afford to live there?

Vancouver is beautiful and as my hometown, I have a lot of connections to both the city and to the people who live there. One day, I’d love to live there again but especially after moving away, I’ve realized that it’s so much more affordable to live in many other cities. As my friends look at housing options in North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, Delta, and Richmond, the prices for houses (whether it be a townhouse, a condo, or a house) are well beyond the Ottawa average of about $380 000.  We’re talking more in the range of $500 000 and up up up!

Affordable housing is important for those earning (barely) a living wage but it also extends to those who just want a space to live in in the neighbourhood that they want to be in, whether it be because they grew up there and have roots, their family has roots or their kids go to school there already, or the area meets their transportation needs. I mean, it would be unfortunate finding yourself in a pocket of Burnaby that isn’t well-serviced by public transport if you don’t have access to a car.

…which is why I was very excited to see this:

The Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability was established by the City Council of Vancouver in December 2011 and has four associated working groups (Finance, Form, Flows, and Partnerships) working to produce a final report in June 2012. It’s an important issue that needs to be discussed and that will require policy to support it to fruition.

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2 thoughts on “I love Vancouver but could I afford to live there?

  1. Interesting, I hadn’t heard about the taskforce on sustainable housing. I’ll have to look for the final report. We moved our young family to Ottawa last year after almost 14 years in Vancouver. I miss the City, the coast and the people terribly, but in the end we wanted more space, creative work and a more flexible lifestyle than what we could afford in Vancouver. We had excellent, well paying jobs, made money in real estate, but still would have to work too hard, and would miss out on a lot of life with our children.

    1. It’s definitely like doing a cost-benefit analysis when deciding on a city to live in. I have a few friends who continue to hope that the housing bubble in Vancouver bursts, but I’m not holding my breath considering the continuous influx of people interested in living there (as well as the folks who move there with high incomes) and a finite area of housing available in the most desirable (ie. livable, walkable, beautiful and accessible) areas of the Metro Vancouver area.

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