Pamela Chan, BCFamily.ca / Editorial
Lately my 1st grader twins have been asking me all manner of probing questions. There have been enquiries about mummy and daddy’s dating and marriage plus many, many questions about their prenatal and birth experiences.
“Did they have cell phones when you were young?”
“Was the sky blue?”
Add in lots more questions about way back when and even more questions about everyone’s age.
“And did you know that Susie’s mum is X? And you’re Y? That means you’re Z years older than her mum.”
And then the penny dropped.
The most probing and saddest question emerged.
“Is there something you could keep for a long time, mummy?”
When I asked for more details I got the “I shouldn’t say as it will upset you” silent head shake. I kept probing and the story came out. One of my twins wants to make something for me to keep.
“It will be a replacement for me when I have to move away.”
In the future, I was informed, it will be too expensive to buy houses in our neighbourhood. “So mummy I’ll need to move to an island where I will have the money to afford a house. The houses will only cost $5 there. I’ll be able to give them $10 dollars and get some change back.”
My children hear conversations about the cost of housing It’s a frequent topic on the news. People around us are talking. And now, apparently, even 6 year olds in BC are worried, without being told what’s wrong with the real estate speculation that’s going on.
Normally I wouldn’t share personal tidbits like this but gosh darn it. This is a measurement of where our province is at. The mismatch of high cost of housing – normally found in heavy weight, super star cities – coupled with poor job prospects and lack lustre wages has gotten out of hand.
You know the situation is dire when the youngest citizens are worried that they will have to move far away because they won’t be able to afford to live in their own community. Even IF they have a good paying job.
We don’t live in a rental home but if we did I’m sure that “I won’t be able to afford the rent” would have been the focus of the conversation. Because with the way things are going, you can throw rent into the equation as well.
You just might be someone who moved to Hong Kong, New York or London for that better career option. I did the same when I went to work for an international company in Asia for 5 years. As a non-Boomer Gen Xer, I’d been priced out of the Vancouver housing and cost of living scene. The recession, job market and wages were dismal when I was in my 20s. The only worse recession in the last 30 years was in the early 80s. I could have stayed back, worked on my Mrs. degree and put a double income behind my household budget. I took the more independent option and left BC and Canada.
But my 6 year old doesn’t have such aspirations to travel the world to find a better quality of life. There’s just a sad heart that’s thinking about making something to ease mum’s sadness when the grim reality of future finances hit.
This is where we’re at.
Just as I’m preparing to put this piece together I stumble upon THIS. An assessment of the best places to live in Vancouver. I had to click on the link to see the recommendations. I’ve lived in seven neighbourhoods in Greater Vancouver and I was curious to see how they all stacked up. Not surprisingly the piece is not just about Vancouver proper – as in the City of Vancouver. It’s about North Vancouver and West Vancouver as well. All of these municipalities are now very expensive areas – even if you’re simply buying a run down, fixer-upper shack. Apparently the burbs where my family lives – in what is called Greater “Vancouver” – are not worthy of investigation, a mention or even a side bar. Maybe it’s because unlike these three municipalities, my city doesn’t have the name “Vancouver” in it. But goodness knows the prices are keeping pace with our illustrious neighbours.
So there you have it. My child has decided that a future in a neigbourhood that’s not even a top hood in the region is not in the cards.
Maybe it’s time we all moved to an island or maybe even bought out own. That is if they’ll still have affordable and accessible ferry service in the future.
I guess we can do our own speculating and buy a row boat now.
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You can follow the latest news about real estate trends in BC on The Thirties Grind – a blog that focuses on this topic.