the ‘affordability’ myth in vancouver.

I hear a lot of people in vancouver complaining about the ‘affordability’ factor of the real estate here. Mostly it’s people whining about the usual suspects: “boo hoo, I want a place that is liveable” or “I want a place that is not comprised mainly of mold” well you know what? You’re coming at this thing all wrong-headed, and I’ll tell you why.

Most of you are looking at what you can afford to rent vs. what you can afford to buy and thinking “..wait a minute.. I can live in a nice house in a nice area, or for the same monthly cost I can buy a tiny box in an ‘undesireable’ part of town. Uh.. I’ll take the nice house.”

..But what about THE FUTURE?!?

It’s not what you spend today, but what you bid to spend to live here in the future. Basically you’re betting against others to determine the highest you’re willing to spend on monthly housing to have a part of this city, and WHAT A CITY IT IS! I mean what other city has any connection at all to a two week sporting event of OLYMPIC CALIBRE? Right?!? Therefore, we rightly believe that the DEMAND to live in this city will outstrip the current SUPPLY. After all, they’re not making any more LAND are they? No. They’re making more CONDOS, because THATS where the DEMAND is.

So we’re betting on how much we’re going to want to live here in the FUTURE and we’re thinking, hey.. It pretty much gets more expensive to live every year, because I need a flatscreen TV and flatscreen TV’s are more expensive than that hand-me-down oak cabinet floor-standing model I got from uncle Vic.. So if it gets more expensive to live, and I bid somewhere in the middle of what I’ll pay for the cost of living over the next 30 years it’ll be a great investment because housing prices NEVER GO DOWN and interest rates are great and thanks to inflation I’ll pretty much make more and more money each year to cover this purchase and every thing will be GREAT!!

But then you start looking at charts.. Those fucking charts that narrow down on one disturbing little factoid to the exclusion of all other things.. Little things like the median income in Vancouver has actually DROPPED between 2000 and 2004 and we simply don’t have the jobs to support a market of million-dollar condo’s right now and you think “shit. I’m going to lose my shirt. Someone’s going to go and pull the whole tablecloth out from underneath this house of cards and the whole free lunch is gonna dissappear in a cloud of pepper and tears.”

But here’s what I say to that:

Charts are the past man! Why focus on the past when you can look to THE FUTURE! You can’t always judge something by it historical patterns.

I mean really, just look at tech stock prices during the dot.com boom – They went up and up and then suddenly *zap* they dissappeared in a moment of mass-panic as everyone realized they were horribly over-valued. Just goes to show – you can’t trust the charts man, and if you don’t buy that tiny box you can barely afford NOW are you ever going to have a place of your own to hang your flatscreen TV?

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Great.. I'll be putting all my money into real estate then, now that the tech stocks have crashed and all..

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