I Moved During COVID: 7 Pandemic Real Estate Stories

Moving sucks in the best of times. This past year? There’d better be good reason to do it. Here’s why these Vancouverites made the effort.

Name Amanda Mitchell
Moved from An illegal suite off Commercial Drive ($1,150/month)
Moved to A new apartment a dozen or so blocks south (just under $2,000/month)

“I could overlook my old place’s quirks until the pandemic hit. When I switched to working from home, the lack of soundproofing became very apparent. There was a nice older man who lived downstairs who loved music and played it all the time. With my work I often facilitate large meetings, and it was anxiety-inducing to have to wonder if Jim Morrison was going to start singing ‘Riders on the Storm’ in the middle of a meeting. I also wanted a place that was dog-friendly. All in all it was a very good decision, even if it is massively more expensive than my old place.”

Name Lindsay and Callan MacKinlay
Moved from A 2 bed + den in Burnaby ($1,850/month)
Moved to A 3-bedroom townhouse, also in Burnaby ($2,800/month mortgage)

“We found out we were pregnant during the pandemic. While we would have been able to make our previous apartment work in terms of space, we started looking more earnestly at other places with more square footage in which to grow our family. We saw that interest rates were pretty good, and thought that maybe this was a bit of an achievable opportunity to be able to get into the ownership market.”

Name Lisa Storey and Andrew Morgan
Moved from A studio apartment in Amsterdam ($2,870/month)
Moved to A 2-bedroom apartment in the West End ($3,000/month)

“My partner and I were British expats in the Netherlands and wanted a new adventure. We were watching Canada from afar, and the night the borders closed we were devastated. But at the same time we thought: Canada’s doing exactly the right thing. My partner and I both had jobs secured in Vancouver, so we were able to submit our work permits and got put on a waiting list. It took five months to get approved.”

Name Perri Linklater
Moved from Perri’s childhood home in East Van ($0/month)
Moved to An apartment in New West ($1,500/month)

“I was living with my parents, and my original plan was to save for the first half of 2020 and move in with my partner—who lived alone—in July. But then the pandemic happened, and James and I had to think about whether we were going to quarantine together or apart. We decided that for our mental health’s sake it would be best for me to move in so that nobody would have to live completely alone while the province was shut down. I definitely had a period of grief because I was leaving my childhood home, and a family cat that we’ve had for 12 years. I went two weeks without a cat—and then we adopted two.”

Name Kelsey Uyeyama and Troy Britnell
Moved from A condo in PoCo ($465,000 value)
Moved to A detached home in West Kelowna ($630,000 value)

“We were originally looking at townhouses in Port Coquitlam, but we knew that we eventually wanted to buy a house in West Kelowna, where my family is. There were a lot of houses on the market in Kelowna, and they were selling really quickly—I didn’t want to miss that boat. But I also knew I didn’t want to quit my job in pediatrics… so I decided to make the commute, because I think it’s worth it. So we own a house in Kelowna, but I still go to work in Vancouver.”

Name Haley Cameron and Nick Hnatiw
Moved from 1 room in a shared 2-bedroom in Fairview ($1,000/month each room)
Moved to A 2-bedroom in Fairview ($2,750/month)

“My partner and I met in November 2019, and we ended up spending way more time together—in a way more emotionally intense time—sooner than you typically would in a relationship. Neither of our home office setups were ideal, and it became clear very quickly that the best-case scenario was going to be that we each had a dedicated work space. We decided to just rip the bandage off and give living together a shot. The pandemic definitely changed what we were looking for in an apartment—it was really a matter of where we could comfortably be for the majority of our time.”

Name Adam Chotem
Moved from A sublet in Fairview ($1,000/month)
Moved to An apartment downtown ($689,000 value)

“My mom and I had been looking for an apartment to buy together as an investment property for her, and a first mortgage for me. The building was built in the ’50s so we wanted to renovate it, which was sort of an ongoing battle with the strata manager. I had to pay the contractor a COVID oversight fee, so it was an extra $750 for security… I figured for that price I would be able to book elevators easily and it would make the renovation easier. But in reality, it actually made things harder to plan.”