With the average house in Vancouver now costing over a million dollars, I can understand the frustration behind the rallies imploring the government to do something about housing prices. The campaign, however, seems to be venting anger that first time home buyers can’t afford single family homes close to downtown while offshore investors drive up prices. That said, I don’t think that there are that many major cities in the world that have affordable single family homes within 30 minutes of the central business district. I, too, wish I could afford a house close to downtown, but had to make the tradeoff and head to Burnaby when the Kitsilano condo I bought when single was too small when I was married with two dogs and a home office. I would have loved to stay in Kits, but a million dollars in that area was getting us something rather grim with knob and tube wiring and asbestos issues. To get the bigger space that we needed (and in a place that allowed us to have two dogs), we needed to head out to the suburbs.
Housing to me is a journey. No one I know could start with that million dollar home, instead we have to use the ladder theory, where we start with something more modest, maybe a bit further out than we’d like, and work hard, make extra payments on the mortgage, grow some equity and then can look to stretch again and upgrade to something a little nicer as we advance in our careers and have more buying power. I wish it weren’t so, that we could all afford something from the get-go that would suit us for our entire lives, but it hasn’t worked that way in a few generations.