BREAKING: Team Behind Savio Volpe Opening New Restaurant in Cambie Village This Winter
Burdock and Co Is Celebrating a Decade in Business with a 10-Course Tasting Menu
The Frozen Pizza Chronicles Vol. 3: Big Grocery Gets in on the Game
Recipe: This Blackberry Bourbon Sour From Nightshade Is Made With Chickpea Water
The Author of the Greatest Wine Book of the Last Decade Is Coming to Town
Wine Collab of the Week: A Cool-Kid Fizz on Main Street
10 Black or African Films to Catch at the 2023 Vancouver International Film Festival
8 Indigenous-Owned Businesses to Support in Vancouver
5 Things to Do in Vancouver This Week (September 25- October 1)
Protected: Kamloops Unmasked: The Most Intriguing Fall Destination of 2023
Dark Skies in Utah: Chasing Cosmic Connection on the Road
Fall Wedges and Water in Kamloops
Attention Designers: 5 Reasons to Enter the WL Design 25
On the Rise: Meet Vancouver Jewellery Designer Jamie Carlson
At Home With Photographer Evaan Kheraj and Fashion Stylist Luisa Rino
It was touch and go, getting this issue to press. Half the time I was meant to be working, I sat in front of my computer flummoxed by the Royal Bank’s “Housing Trends and Affordability” report. In Calgary, says the bank, a 1,500-square-foot, two-storey house takes 39 percent of take-home pay. In Toronto, that so-called affordability measure climbs to 62 percent-nearly two-thirds of pre-tax household income going to property-and in Vancouver? Forget it. We spend 88 percent of our gross pay on housing.
Twenty-five years ago, that number was around 40: we’ve cut our earning power in half in only one generation, and when I look ahead to my kids’ adult years it’s hard to imagine them buying anything like their childhood home. I know I’m not the only one struggling with affordability. At every food truck lineup and daycare dropoff in town people circle around this one central question, Can we still afford to live here? Half of dinner party conversations are recurring fantasies about cashing out and taking off. We hoard details about those 75 cheap acres of Nova Scotia orchard. We wonder which is cheaper, Dunbar or Napa?
Here’s a contrary thought: it’s still cheap to live in Vancouver-if you’re willing to recognize that the world’s most livable cities reward residents in non-financial ways. (Sure, that Arbutus bungalow is $2.4 million, but Stanley Park!) That’s only one insight into this sluggish, stubborn market provided by Jim Sutherland, a keen student of real estate and former editor of this magazine. His bigger aha moment, beyond some great tips on realtors and neighbourhoods, is this: we need to rethink our housing. Prices will rise and fall but barring a massive correction (a threat he addresses), little will fundamentally change. A single-family detached home on the West Side won’t return to pre-Expo prices. Our salaries may well not balloon. So we need to rethink how we afford this paradise (those of us fortunate enough to be worrying about real estate value). Maybe we downsize. Maybe we share space with extended family or trade in the dream of a white picket fence for more modest acceptance of a condo. Certainly, we need to see the city in the context of the world beyond North America.