The New Dream: Renting

Cashisking points out this article in the Wall Street Journal about the history of the North American dream of home ownership and how it’s changed over time.

Until the early 20th century, holding a mortgage came with a stigma. You were a debtor, and chronic indebtedness was a problem to be avoided like too much drinking or gambling. The four words “keep out of debt” or “pay as you go” appeared in countless advice books. As the YMCA told its young charges, “If you can’t pay, don’t buy. Go without. Keep on going without.” Because of that, many middle-class Americans—even those with a taste for single-family houses—rented. Home Sweet Home didn’t lose its sweetness because someone else held the title.

The article goes on to cover changes in government policy and lending, from the depression up to the recent housing boom and bust in the US.

Like the US, the Canadian government has policies to encourage home ownership (via the CMHC) based on the assumption that home ownership is good for society, but is it?  Do you as an owner or renter feel that there is a fundamental difference between the two choices?  Are owners more responsible and more involved in their community?  On the flipside, are renters with a higher disposable income more beneficial to a local economy?

The WSJ article ends with an interesting note on the origins of the ‘American Dream’ quote:

James Truslow Adams, the historian who coined the phrase “the American dream,” one that he defined as “a better, richer, and happier life for all our citizens of every rank” also offered a prescient commentary in the midst of the Great Depression. “That dream,” he wrote in 1933, “has always meant more than the accumulation of material goods.” Home should be a place to build a household and a life, a respite from the heartless world, not a pot of gold.

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Post 86, 87 and 88

Thanks for the info:

I had heard about these sort of benefits being acquired literally once they set foot in Canada.

I didn't know it was that bad. This just encourages abuse of the system and is a free ride . Why is this allowed ?

I believe another game is played with the Education sytem, whereby if they simply get their Grade 12 Dogwood diploma in BC(as opposed to being here from grades K – 12), they have the same access to post secondary education(ie not deemed international student).


89: Pancreatic cancer is as bad as it gets, with a 5% survival rate 5 years after diagnosis. It is likely no amount of treatment would have saved your advisor.


NO -LYMPICS: NO. Like you, I'm just engaging in debate, and very willing to listen to all sides. I originally referred to realpaul's false contention that the new health care legislation in the United States included "death panels." It does not.

As for the rationing of medical care in British Columbia on the basis of age, I truly don't know enough to have an informed opinion. I've only recently moved back to the province after a 15-year extended hiatus abroad.

Eerily enough, however, at almost the exact minute that I wrote my first post, my dissertation advisor passed away from the effects of pancreatic cancer. I just found out a couple of hours ago. He was 64.

Can't stop Asia

I am Chinese and do agree about the free ride the Chinese immigrants, rich or poor are getting here. However would like to point out it's just not the Chinese but also East Indians, Iranians, Phillipinos, all recent immigrants. All they do is inflate our RE and use our social services. It was not like this when I arrived in Canada 45 years ago.


#86 further, have 4 kids ($250 per child) = $1000 monthly. 2 grandparents 65+ (GIS, OAS, to about $1800 roughly?) so basically, monthly income already $2800 before 2 adults working. let say 1 adult works collecting min. wages to about $1800 monthly. A total of $4600/month $55200/year! NO paying taxes of course, NO MSP, get all the benefits you desire!

$4600 – $1500 rent = $3100 LEFT monthly to SPEND. Truly, not bad! May even quality for a fat mortgage with some tweaking.


NO -LYMPICS: #79 NO, don't forget that the CDN is perpetually in the toilet and that HK dollars , being tied the US buck, fetch a premium over the CDN peso. Hell of a way to treat the CDN's who built the system on generations of taxes only to be shown the door when the LIBs decided to allow waves of unqualified immigrants in for a free ride on the social, medial and educational system. The one I like the best are the grandfathers of large families who may have been an engineer in China ( not a professional designation recognized in a CDN work enviornment) retired in China for 20 years is qualified under the points system to immigrate , bring the entire family for the freebies and never intend to work or pay taxes , and due to… Read more »


BMO?? guess we'll wait and see..

Interest rates go up, housing prices comes down, I've looked at all the other factors, this is the only thing that will ultimately change the vancouver market. They don't have to move much and things will get messy. Buyers these days don't plan for the future , so long as they can pay the mortgage at the end of the month, they figure they are a f#*king real estate guru. My wife and I have been renting and saving for 4 year watching people assume massive amount of debt. best wishes to all those that are not deep in debt and not highly leveraged.


#62, isn't it too bad you don't know how to avoid taxes like them. It will take you more years of living in Canada to understand how to evade taxes and move ahead in life. That HST will crush a lot of middle class and lower income people but for those collecting cash, it will be life as usual.


$375 / 1br – Very Mini-house Small 10×10 (richmond)

This mini-house was originally built as place to rest outside our house,,

It is solid and 2 years old with tile roof, stucco ecterior and baseboard heat, it is

10feet by 10feet and have a sink/shower/toilet/hotplate/microwae/tv in same room

very secure with its own enternace, would suite only 1 adult

with minimal belongings,, there is room tohang your clothes

but oviously no room for a sofa or any other furnituresmall bed only

hydro and cable are included and wireless internet

1 minute walk to busstop


seems that craigslist rental prices are dropping esp. in downtown or kits area. also, basement suits are a lot cheaper now. not to say LOTS and LOTS of choices around.


$3B shortfall challenges B.C. finance minister… As government revenues plunge, B.C. taxpayers should brace themselves for a "very, very difficult" budget in two weeks, Finance Minister Colin Hansen is warning. The government is desperately trying to maintain key services, but a $3-billion shortfall is making that a real challenge, Hansen said. "We are desperately trying to maintain the critical services in health care and education and the social services. So it's definitely been a challenging summer," the finance minister said Wednesday. In the last three months, British Columbia has faced a financial whipsaw, he said, including: Corporate income tax and personal income tax revenue — down by about $1 billion. Projected revenue from natural gas — down by about $500 million. Projected revenue from other natural resources — down by about $500 million. Projected revenue from the social services… Read more »


Post 78 Who pissed in your corn flakes? What advantage is there in making this up? These are anecdotes. It's not the first time I have heard of a fiscal means test for health care. Do you know first hand that it is BS ? I had an RN tell me this, (ie if granny has a million dollar home and seeks an old folks home, she better sell her home and use that to pay for it, the public won't) and heard it from a couple of other parties. I hope it is BS. As I stated, the health care system will be increasingly on life support. It will be more costly and concurrently less universal. The front end of the baby boom is retiring. Dentists are complaining they have 14% fewer patient visits and blaming the economy. BTW:… Read more »


77 X realpaul Says: August 20th, 2009 at 4:13 pm Vancouverite: #69 V, I think the number is $200,000 CDN ti immigrate to Canada under the business category. ===== It was my understanding that when the BC's Asian boom started in the 1980's, investment (of around $200,000) was a requirement "to buy your way in". It was not supposed to allow Real Estate as an eligible investment, certainly not residential RE. However, my further understanding was that was waived,thus RE investment would be deemed an eligible investment , hence our massive B.C. RE bubble in the late 1980's. I can still recall pre Expo 86 that a house on a big lot on the West Side near 41st and Granville could be had for less than $250,000, or a Richmond home for just over $100,000. It doubled and tripled before… Read more »


#72 No-Olympics. WTF are you talking about? – "I have also heard stories from health care professionals that if the patient has assest such as a house, they will be forced to sell and pay their own health care, it is NOT universal." I have many beefs with our system, but this statement is total BS. As for your family member with cancer, my 90 year old father was given extensive radiation treatment for his cancer because chemo and surgery tend to be TOO RISKY for eldery folks, especially when they are weakened by a serious illness such as cancer. He beat the cancer after a 14 week series of treatments.

Next person who thinks the "Death Panel" myth is real needs to be banned for being terminally stupid.



#69 V, I think the number is $200,000 CDN ti immigrate to Canada under the business category. It is obviously impossible to set up any kind of business in Vancouver for that amount so in fact its just a scam. Ergo, a lot of so called immigrants with limited funds all driving rented cars and sharing clothes.



#68 NO, that is my understanding as well. The'death panel' doesn't have the power to arbtrarily cancel granny's surgery but it takes form insidiously wherein the facility and doctors begin to 'suggest' that death is inevitable and resources are better allocated elesewhere. The idea is to save the expense of prolonging life unnessecarily through counselling the patient rather than treating them aggressivley.


NO -LYMPICS: NO_LYMPICS – depending on the type and grade of the tumor and the overall health of the patient, treatment can be worse than doing nothing.



#62 Don't blame the Chinese for the underground economy. That market is definatley colour/creed free. The real problem in Canada is that people are over taxed and they are revolting. The government waste and corruption (Canadian style) is unconsionable. The real cost of living is so high that people can't make a go of it after taxes so who can blame them for trying to shield a few dollars from the gov.

Don't blame the tax cheats blame the system that cheats us all.



"An MD once stated that the vast majority of health care per capita is spent in the last 2 years of one’s life.

That same fate could eventually await us all."

Sounds like a great idea to me. Why in the world would the medical system start a chemotheraphy regime on a person who is 75yrs old??


oneangryslav realpaul said: " The ‘death Panels’ in the states will determine which people are terminal and who will no longer benefit from any type of procedure. here we are letting people who could be saved die, laying unattended in hallways and closets. Shame beyond shame". oneangryslav said " This “death panel” garbage is absolute bullshit. No panel would determine whether “granny dies” or not." When our family member was in hospital recently , they discussed the "Will not resucitate" possibility. We had presumed they wanted us to sign a form. No, this was not a option on our part , it would be more of a given on the hospitals part if the situation got to that point. IMHO, That's a death panel. (However, the patient is at home for the most part, and reasonably mobile). BTW not attempting… Read more »


Vancouverite: What is your evidence for the claims you make, Vancouverite? Have there been any surveys done about the attitudes of Chinese with respect to emigration?

Now you may know many people who want to emigrate to Canada (Vancouver), but extrapolating that to China's population as a whole is an example of selection bias.


NO -LYMPICS: NO, the important part of your response is "give[n] their age they are not being given the same treatment protocol as someone younger." Without more knowledge about the specifics of the case, it's difficult to assess whether your relative has been given what amounts to a death sentence by BC medical services. The larger point, however, is that one would expect the protocol for treating a disease to vary by age. Younger persons are, obviously, stronger and healthier generally than older persons, and medical intervention (paricularly chemotherapy) puts tremendous stress on the body. Once again, though, one would have to know a lot more of the specifics in the case of your relative. The point that I tried to make in my previous post was to debunk the "death panels" myth vis-a-vis the health care debate in the… Read more »


#61 All immigrant asians Rich?

I never said all immigrant asians are rich.

What I'm saying is that there are so many more asians than local home owner or wannabe local home owners that want to own a home & business in Vancouver.

If all immigrant asians were rich home prices would not be down from 2006-07.

However, it does take a lot of money to immigrate to Canada with no special skills.

Just the sheer # who want to come here.

My point is that there are many more asians coming our way to Vancouver, not all immigrating here, but still buying RE.


oneangryslav Death panels (for lack of a better name) DO exist, and our family is going through that right now. A family member in their 70's has been diagnosed with cancer and give their age they are not being given the same treatment protocol as someone younger. No surgery, chemo just started this week. There was no immediate intervention as they bounce from doctor to doctor. The tumour has been allowed to grow 14 X's its original size . WTF? In essence, they ( the medical staff and whoever else has a say) are directing the resources as they see fit. Are they basing their treatment protocol using sound objective judgement? One hopes so. However these people have lived through wars and paid taxes all their lives. I most certainly hope that they are not being viewed as having served… Read more »


"Dave Says: August 19th, 2009 at 9:22 pm Investors Snapping Up Downtown Miami Condos…..33338.html Are the good ‘old days of real estate back? It appears so in Downtown Miami. In recent weeks developers have sold hundreds of condos, in a flurry of activity they haven’t seen since the peak of the housing market. Some builders are actually running out of inventory. The first building to sell out, Brickell on the River, happened quietly and quickly selling 120 units in just six weeks time." Sure, why not buy now if it makes sense (ratios), prices have dropped around 50% I believe according to the latest Case-Shiller. Although I wonder how many option ARM mortgages were in Florida? I definitely would not buy in California yet, even with prices down the same amount or more, given there is going to be… Read more »