The Greater Vancouver area has seen a dramatic rise in average real estate value over the past few years, with single-family homes hitting the $1.8 million mark and condos reaching $500,000, according to the latest numbers from the MLS Home Price Index.
The price growth, which represents a doubling of real estate costs in just a decade, was spurred by greater inbound immigration and population growth (approximately 30,000 new residents every year), as well as a larger volume of foreign investments entering the Canadian market.
The numbers came on the heels of a recent analysis by financial services firm UBS, which noted that Vancouver is among the five most expensive Canadian cities and the third least affordable market in the world.
Among other effects, these developments have the greatest impact on the younger generation, which form the backbone of the tech-centric workforce demanded by the modern world. Unaffordable housing is increasingly proving to be a formidable roadblock for potential home buyers and would-be entrepreneurs alike.
“This is worrying for several reasons, chief among them that it makes it exceptionally hard to grow a business in Vancouver,” HootSuite CEO and social business commentator Ryan Holmes said in his column published by the Financial Post
“I’ve experienced this firsthand at my company, but it’s hardly unique to the technology sector. Qualified job candidates are deterred from moving to the city and great employees are leaving because they can’t afford to build a life here,” Holmes noted.
While a huge plus for sellers, the ever-upward trend in prices might make Vancouver vulnerable to becoming a “ghost town” that serves only the wealthy.
“As well, qualified newcomers who could bring talent, drive and vision to Vancouver are looking elsewhere. The projected closure of more than a dozen Vancouver public schools hints at the scale of the problem: Families can no longer afford to live here,” Holmes said.