Our View: House costs about to reach orbit

How much higher can house prices go in Metro Vancouver?

Aside from a very brief blip during the darkest days of the recession, prices have been rising for more than a decade. We could call the rise “steady,” but it’s been closer to meteoric.

Meanwhile, wages have been rising much more slowly. And we’re running out of land that isn’t part of the ALR. You would think that eventually, some kind of limit would be hit and there’d be a price correction, or at least a pause while we caught our breath for a few years.

So far, everyone who has predicted the housing apocalypse for Vancouver (and Toronto, in a similar situation) has been wrong. It seems like such a safe bet. What goes up must come down. And yet, house prices stubbornly refuse to decline.

Whether the cause is foreign buyers or local speculators, or just ordinary demand, we are already seeing some consequences for local homeowners.

One of the least talked about is that the gap between detached houses and every other type of home is splitting owners into winners and losers.

Winners bought houses five, 10, 40 years ago. They will reap huge rewards if they sell now.

Losers have been renters, or bought townhouses or condos. Their homes have not appreciated in value, or not nearly as much. Throw almost everyone between the ages of 18 and 30 into this category – none of them were old enough to even think about buying before the market started to shoot up.

For quite a while, the traditional advice for young folks starting families has been to buy and move up – get a starter home, a condo, a townhouse, and build some equity.

It turns out that for a generation, that equity is at best a static investment, and the second stage – the detached house – just keeps getting farther out of reach. Who’s going to deal with all those younger would-be homebuyers when they have two kids and a townhouse that won’t sell?

– M.C.



Just Posted

Twilight Drive-In announces open season for moviegoers next Friday

Opening weekend will showcase a double feature with Aquaman at 7:15 p.m. and Glass at 9:50 p.m.

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Elementary b-ball teams receive surprise game visit from ACSS Totems

Two grade 5 co-ed basketball teams were cheered on by players from the highschool Totems team.

Looking Back: Live rats brought to council, ducks bombed with food

Our community’s stories, told through the files of the Langley Advance.

Our View: Carbon tax changes good for B.C.

Using tax money to fund green projects is a good move by the government.

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Most Read