September 23, 2015

The Daily Durning: Living the Vancouver Dream by Moving Away

From the Asian Pacific Post, by Michael Stewart
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I’M LIVING THE VANCOUVER DREAM BY MOVING AWAY

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In October of last year, my partner and I were officially priced out of Vancouver. We fled to the island, to Victoria, where life is much quieter, slightly more affordable, but with a lot more bumper stickers.

One of the first I saw pulling out of Swartz Bay cajoled me to “Relax. You’re on the Island now.” I couldn’t tell if it was a bit of friendly advice or a threat.

Really, we had been priced out of Vancouver a year earlier but hadn’t been able to admit it to ourselves. We were paying too much for a two-bedroom apartment in Marpole flush up against the six-lane entrance to the Oak Street Bridge. Both of us worked full-time, I as a freelancer and she as a communications professional at UBC, but searching for affordable housing that would suit our two children under four defeated us. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver at the end of 2014 was just under $1600 — if you could find one.

In Victoria, the average rent is still high, but much more manageable at our incomes at $849 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,095 for a two-bedroom.

The vacancy rate in October 2014 was 1.5 per cent on average, reaching lows below one per cent in Victoria and Oak Bay — pretty shocking until you consider that in Vancouver it was even worse at 0.5 per cent.

That’s really the best way to describe the relationship between the housing markets in both cities: it’s bad in Victoria. But in Vancouver, it’s worse.

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Full article here.

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