Tuesday, December 26, 2006

called home




I have heard and seen a lot of talk recently of how Vancouver has changed so much for the worse, and that, coupled with the staggering costs of living here, is compelling people to, at least think of, other environs. I was at a dinner last night where all present voiced that opinion. One is selling her house and looking elsewhere.

I came upon the article below, and a few lines really jumped out at me. I have bolded the type on those. The one that rang a bell the loudest for me was - They're considering to move here, because their lifestyle has changed so much they don't recognize themselves


Maritimers in Alberta seek jobs back home

(CBC) - An advertising message suggesting homesick Maritimers in Alberta return home has resulted in thousands of inquiries about East Coast jobs.

The message has also attracted the attention of some Albertans who have never been to the Maritimes, something Nadeau didn't expect.

"They're considering to move here, because their lifestyle has changed so much they don't recognize themselves," he said.

The Nova Scotia government is hoping to capitalize on that.

Faced with a shortage of skilled workers and a tightening labour pool, the government has launched a marketing campaign targeting Nova Scotians living in Calgary.

The campaign includes newspaper ads and billboards with slogans like "Buy a home or two" and "Calgary is a nice place to visit."
(exerpted from here)


I expect that they may start advertising here next.

EDIT

A piece in last night's news talked of how Saskatoon is also advertising for people to come back from Alberta, and some are. One couple sold their place in Calgary and returned. They managed to pay off all of their student and car loans, and have a new house in Saskatoon with no mortgage. They like their life much better now.

32 comments:

patiently waiting said...

When people back East talk about Vancouver these days, the first thing mentioned is:

a) Mild winters
b) Sea-to-sky lifestyle
c) 2010 Olympics
d) How expensive it is

You know which one. People aren't just going to Alberta instead because of the oil. The word is out that Vancouver sucks. We are not a world-class city at all. Just an over-priced, puff-up second rate city where a few foreigners have temporarily parked some money.

bc_cele said...

One of the first things I was told when I moved here was that BC stands for 'Bring Cash'. Seems that is becoming more true.

solipsist said...

I could not agree more patiently waiting. Though, I can't believe that anyone stil talks about 2010.

I do not know anyone that lives the sea-to-sky lifestyle. I never have, and doubt that I ever will. When I first came here 20 years ago, that existed, but I have not seen it in the last 10 years, or more. Wreck Beach is like a myth in my mind now, a long-gone dream. I look over at the North Shore, and I see a scar on the once-beautiful mountain - one that doubled in size in the last couple of years.

It seems to be just a giant grid-lock now - replete with brown, smoggy air.

Sigh.

Prince Rupert anyone?

bc-cele, I hope you brought lots of it (cash, that is...).

It all reminds me of a very cool little fishing village that I found on the Oaxaca coast about twenty years ago. Problem was, about two hundred thousand other people found it over the next few years, and now it is like Disney Land meets the Godfather, meets Apocalypse Now. I quit going there ten years ago because it was gone.

Back-water little Vancouver is gone too. Let's all move to Montreal, Charlottetown, or St. John's, and wreck that too. It'll be fun, and profitable. We may even make them world-class with our sophisticated presence(s).

Hey! It's still holiday time, and I have been drinking California Zinfandel (the Cali. RE market is in trouble, and I'm doing my bit to help 'em!), so don't mind me.

mk-kids said...

Cali makes some lovely Zins I agree Solipsist! I too have been partaking of a few over this holiday season.

I visited Halifax 2 years ago in December in a snowstorm no less but found it to be a very liveable place although the locals were complaing about how their RE market had been escalating out of control... nothing compared to Vancouver of course but the folks I talked to seemed to think the market then was becoming unaffordable. I don't know what its like now though.

patiently waiting said...

Well, I just supported the BC economy. ;)

bc_cele said...

I vote for Montreal, and we can rent our homes out to GP fans. ;)

I think the worst thing I've encountered in BC has to be the ferries. It cost me over $100 to travel back and forth to Vancouver. Sometimes you feel a little trapped on the island because of it.

As for insanity in housing. I'm back in my hometown (London) and things here are going full-tilt. I don't know the exact numbers, but I can't see how inventory isn't just skyrocketing. There is one development that is suppose to house 30K people when it is finished and it looks to be around 1/4 developed. This is in a city that is only around 350K - and this is far from the only development underway.

The whole world is just going crazy.

patiently waiting said...

bc cele,

I was talking to a buddy of mine in Halifax who was born and raised there. I mentioned the Vancouver bubble and "how it was different and will crash much more than places like Halifax." He said said any price rise at all in Halifax is odd, and that the market is now ice cold and starting to plunge. I checked the last stats on CREA's website. Halifax is down YOY.

bc_cele said...

patiently waiting said...
bc cele,

I was talking to a buddy of mine in Halifax who was born and raised there. I mentioned the Vancouver bubble and "how it was different and will crash much more than places like Halifax." He said said any price rise at all in Halifax is odd, and that the market is now ice cold and starting to plunge. I checked the last stats on CREA's website. Halifax is down YOY.


Maybe I should ask for Halifax as my next posting..hmm.. I've been there only a few times, but I've enjoyed each time quite a bit. I'll even be close to my Habs. :D

patiently waiting said...

The lowest paid people in the military can own a house with a yard in one of the cheaper (but decent) parts of Halifax. We're talking a half hour commute at most. Try that in this hellhole.

blacknbrownedout said...

Maybe I'm just intruding here -- you guys seem to have something of an extended rant going on. On the odd chance you'll be interested in the opinion of a newcomer, I'll proceed ...

I moved my family from Edmonton:
- left behind a well-established IT career
- my wife was just beginning her medical career
- kids are still pre-school
- in-laws and great-grandma are immigrants (though citizens) with poor English

We rented in PoCo for a year to get a feel for where we'd like to live: eventually picked North Burnaby and are just about 6 months in the house we bought.

I'll skip any concerns we have about the move and where we are to concentrate on what we like and why we're staying (in no particular order):
- by the ocean (about 10 minutes drive from a beach)
- milder weather (especially for the seniors)
- larger and more dynamic ethnic community (again, mostly for the seniors, and to connect the kids with that part of their heritage)
- larger population and business base to draw business from
- greater convenience for travel/access to: United States, Pacific Rim, and Canada (major airport compared to YEG)
- closer to a large component of both sides of the family

Obviously what we're targeting for lifestyle is different from what seems to be the focus of those complaining about how it's changed. Likewise, the Olympics and the sky port of sea-to-sky are negligible influences with respect to our intentions.

Finally, friends and family remaining in Alberta (both Edmonton and Calgary) are echoing the "things have changed" sentiments here. It sounds more like oldtimers grousing to be honest ...

bc_cele said...

patiently waiting said...
The lowest paid people in the military can own a house with a yard in one of the cheaper (but decent) parts of Halifax. We're talking a half hour commute at most. Try that in this hellhole.


I wouldn't say that BC is a hellhole in general, but it sure is one if you're trying to buy a house. The 1/2 hour commute really sounds good, and the maratimes are famous for their hospitality. Not a bad combo.

bc_cele said...

blacknbrownedout said...
Maybe I'm just intruding here -- you guys seem to have something of an extended rant going on. On the odd chance you'll be interested in the opinion of a newcomer, I'll proceed ...

I moved my family from Edmonton:
- left behind a well-established IT career
- my wife was just beginning her medical career
- kids are still pre-school
- in-laws and great-grandma are immigrants (though citizens) with poor English

We rented in PoCo for a year to get a feel for where we'd like to live: eventually picked North Burnaby and are just about 6 months in the house we bought.

I'll skip any concerns we have about the move and where we are to concentrate on what we like and why we're staying (in no particular order):
- by the ocean (about 10 minutes drive from a beach)
- milder weather (especially for the seniors)
- larger and more dynamic ethnic community (again, mostly for the seniors, and to connect the kids with that part of their heritage)
- larger population and business base to draw business from
- greater convenience for travel/access to: United States, Pacific Rim, and Canada (major airport compared to YEG)
- closer to a large component of both sides of the family

Obviously what we're targeting for lifestyle is different from what seems to be the focus of those complaining about how it's changed. Likewise, the Olympics and the sky port of sea-to-sky are negligible influences with respect to our intentions.

Finally, friends and family remaining in Alberta (both Edmonton and Calgary) are echoing the "things have changed" sentiments here. It sounds more like oldtimers grousing to be honest ...


Welcome to BC!

I doubt many would argue that it is a nice place to live, but the question is 'at what cost'? I'm originally from Ontairo and I actually find that the mild winters is overblown. Last year I lived through 5 solid days of fog, followed by two months of rain. Personally, I'd rather shovel the white stuff and see the sun. However, I find that summer is actually where the climate shines. I have never used an AC because the nights cool down to just the right temperature for sleeping. I also enjoy the fact that there are no thunderstorms (at least where I live).

As for the diversity...I used to live in the GTA so there is no advantage here. The Pacific Rim is closer here, but most of the globe is more easily accessable from T.O.. I really don't know much about the 'things have changed' in Calgary and Edmonton, or even in Vancouver, but I really tend to focus on the here and now. And that says that things are overpriced and in need of a correction.

Anonymous said...

The last time Vancouver was really "worth it" was in the 1980's IMHO. Since then every negative in the city (traffic, pollution, crime, incivility, ugliness) has grown worse, and real housing prices have doubled.

I'm already out and I'm not coming back. So why do I care anyway? Just because I'd like to buy elsewhere in BC, and I know that when Vancouver crashes it will take the rest of the province with it.

patiently waiting said...

I'm here for family and business reasons although I've come and gone over the years. Seeing other places puts Vancouver into perspective. There are lots of nice places in Canada that are affordable.
I understand Vancouver is losing ground to Calgary as the Western centre of business. We are scaring away employers with our land prices. Once the bubble busts, sadly we will see how much of our economy is based on real estate.

blacknbrownout said...

bc_cele: Thanks for the polite and well written reply! *

I'm originally from TO (born downtown actually) and have slowly migrated westwards over the last couple decades. **

In terms of raising kids and "simple city life" I'd pick Saskatoon over anywhere.

In terms of dynamism and just business opportunity I'd pick TO.

If I'm looking for brashness and entrepreneurship I'd be in Calgary.

At this time of my life (too busy with work and kids), pro sports and arts don't mean too much to me.

So, for the reasons in the previous post, GVRD "wins" despite the insanity of housing prices (getting just as bad in Calgary and our previous house in Edmonton has increased in value over 50% since we sold it), the PST, the PTT, and the disgusting state of transit, utilities and homelessness.

The implicit question is, of course, will people like me and mine help make the GVRD a great place to be or will the outflux of people like those posting here be too much to lose ... ?

* Sadly, it's too rare to find a place where people aren't just trolling or looking to flame someone ...

** Mercifully I skipped over Manitoba entirely!

Anonymous said...

For the price of a small three bedroom crapy condo on UBC campus, here is what you get next to Mount Robson:
http://tinyurl.com/uk6qz

solipsist said...

Thanks for all the comments.

blacknbrownedout - thanks for your comment. No intrusion felt. It's always good to hear other reasoned perspectives.

anon. said The last time Vancouver was really "worth it" was in the 1980's IMHO. Since then every negative in the city (traffic, pollution, crime, incivility, ugliness) has grown worse, and real housing prices have doubled. That rather reflects my own feelings. Vancouver was great then, and why I decided to stay. I haven't been directly affected by crime, but the traffic and pollution, and the growing incivility are very noticable to me. Housing prices are insane, but I have fairly reasonable rent, and I am sure that prices will return to metrics.

As compared to other cities - I am fond of the term "compare and despair". What I find sad is that everything that brings people here is ruined by people coming here. Clean air becomes polluted, the small city becomes a big city, etc. And really, Toronto has been warmer than Vancouver so far this winter, and winter is really dreary here. Spring summer and fall are still nice - especially summer. I miss the spectacular thunderstorms of the east though.

Ultimately, all of the "good things" about Vancouver do not justify the prices. That is a temporary aberration though. I think that a lot of people are just tired of being marketed to. I am...

Anonymous said...

I currrently live on Bowen Island. 20 minutes of actual drive time to downtown Vancouver and house prices comparable to Chilliwack. Of course you have to make use of the ferry wait time about 20 minutes waiting, and 15 minutes sailing. If you think creatively there is a little of Beautiful BC (tm) left.

mk-kids said...

OT - I miss VHB. I love this blog solipsist but 3 weeks without VHB is starting to depress me.

wannaget2calgary said...

solipsist commented on "the growing incivility" ...

That's a key observation regarding how Vancouver has changed, IMHO.

El Vince said...

Honestly, I don't know how much Vancouver has changed during the last 20 years, but people always remember "the good times" as better than it really was. Heck, my mom misses "the good old times" when the church used to run everything.

I live in Quebec city. In the last 15 years, we've lost an nhl team, our population got 10 years older (in average), and our provincial govt has basically moved to Montreal. While QC used to be a dynamic place, where people were partying until 4 am all year long, it now seems to be a big residential care, where the mere thought of having a rock concert will throw the local politician into a catatonic state.

PW:The word is out that Vancouver sucks. We are not a world-class city at all. Just an over-priced, puff-up second rate city where a few foreigners have temporarily parked some money.

Excuse me, but in my very humble opinion, this is BS. Vancouver may not be "a world-class city" (whatever you personnal definition of world-class city is), but it doesn't suck, and it's not a puff-up 2nd rate city. I can think of a couple of places I'd like to live more than Vancouver (but none are in Canada), but I can think of 100 times as many places I would not like to live at all.

I do think Vancouver RE is overpriced, but it is merely an economic factor, it's absolutely no indication that the city itself sucks.

On a positive note, I'd like to add that we finished paying for the Montreal's olympic 3 weeks ago. Took us only 30 years to pay the bills. Hope you guys do better.

El Vince said...

@bc_cele: You lived in GTA and you're a Habs fan? At most there's 3 of you in Canada :)

Anonymous said...

patiently waiting said...

When people back East talk about Vancouver these days, the first thing mentioned is:

a) Mild winters
b) Sea-to-sky lifestyle
c) 2010 Olympics
d) How expensive it is

You know which one. People aren't just going to Alberta instead because of the oil. The word is out that Vancouver sucks. We are not a world-class city at all. Just an over-priced, puff-up second rate city where a few foreigners have temporarily parked some money.


AAAAAHHHH did patiently waiting have a bad Christmas? Are you feeling left out? What a fantastically stupid comment. Only you and your make believe friend think it sucks here. If you don't like, move!

solipsist said...

OT - I miss VHB.

We all do mk-kids. VHB has something that this blog sorely lacks - analysis. He'll be back very soon though. I'll be as glad as you. I still drift over there on the off-chance that he is bored, and blogging.

wg2c - it was actually anon. that mentioned the incivility - I just seconded it.

@ el vince - It is a shame that QC is losing it's vitality. That has been going on since the '70's really, hasn't it?

Vancouver is still a good place, just not as good as it was. That can be said for just about anywhere though. We always remember the "good old days" - when skirts were shorter, and old men were younger.

Frankly, all of the places that I have loved are vastly different - whether Paris, TO or my little fishing village in Oaxaca. I think that it has something to do with the exponential population growth world-wide. A lot of the changes are for the better though. I would not relish going back to the days when stir-fried rice and sweet and sour chicken balls were the definition of ethnic fare.

Perhaps the jaded outlook on Vancouver is a result of the over-the-top marketing of the city as a brand since the Olympics were awarded, combined with the insanity of housing prices. I'd still rather live here than TO or Winterpeg though. Maybe I'm getting old, but I wouldn't mind Victoria either. Wait a minute! Yes, I would.

In the long run, I like a simple life. A little farm somewhere not too cold, or a hut on a Mexican beach would suit me fine. Until then, I'm staying.

This RE craze is global, and will end. We'll all be happier then (well, maybe not flippers and speculators...).

It's just fatigue.

solipsist said...

Incidentally blacknbrownedout, I am glad to hear that we have gained a medical person - hopefully a doctor.

There has been a paucity of family doctors here for some time. My wife and I have given up looking for one.

bc_cele said...

blacknbrownout,

Seems like me that you certainly have travelled quite a bit. I think that you'll find that BC has many good things about it and many not so good things. I also think it is unfortunate that some posters have stirred the pot, on both sides.

You should definitely check out Vancouver Housing Blog, when it gets back to normal. I find most of the posters on these blogs are quite well informed and many, like me, don't want people to be hurt by the RE markets. Which is why there is a lot of anger directed towards the cheerleaders (e.g. Muir) who have helped to pump the market to a point where it is unsustainable.

Please enjoy your stay both in Vancovuer and on the blogs.

bc_cele said...

El Vince said...
@bc_cele: You lived in GTA and you're a Habs fan? At most there's 3 of you in Canada :)


I know it is kind of surprising since I grew up in SW Ontario. Everyone around me was a Leafs fan, but I grew up watching the Habs with LaFleur, Savard, the Roadrunner, Shut, and Gainey, how could you not like watching them?

solipsist said...

El Vince said...
@bc_cele: You lived in GTA and you're a Habs fan? At most there's 3 of you in Canada :)


It's surprising how many Torontonians are Habs fans. I think that a lot have given up on the Leafs because they haven't won the Stanley since 1969...

patiently waiting said...

"This RE craze is global, and will end. We'll all be happier then (well, maybe not flippers and speculators...)."

If only that were that case. There is going to be a lot of pain in the next few years. Too many families with 60K incomes bought 600K crap-shacks and are way over their heads in debt. This is why Vancouver sucks. Its eating its middle class young families alive. Add in all the renters who have been displaced in the last couple of years and this is a rather dismal place right now. The bubble was everywhere but already expensive places like Vancouver were the worst.

To those who wish to attack me personally, I'll ignore you.

solipsist said...

That is a nice place anon.

The McBride area is beautiful. Once you get back 60 km or so from the Yellowhead, there is naught but wilderness. Sadly, so much of it has been logged, and the lodgepole pine replanted is very susceptible to the dastardly beetles.

If I had a million in equity in Van., I'd be very tempted by that place as a summer abode, and una casa muy simple in Mexico for the winters.

$525k is a bit much though. I don't think you could make much on it as a rancher. You could do a hunting and fishing type place though. It sold on Dec. 18th. I wonder what the actual price paid was.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver is still a good place, just not as good as it was. That can be said for just about anywhere though

No I disagree. There are few places that have seen such a decline in liveability combined with a rise in costs as Vancouver.

All of southern BC is overpriced, but many cities are actually nicer than they were a generation ago. Nelson, Rossland, Fernie. I lived in Victoria in the 1970's and I think it's still just as good today - some downsides but also some upsides.

I also lived in Calgary in the late 70's and think it's more interesting today, although that's not saying a whole lot. Ottawa is great today - and very affordable. And let's not forget Montreal, which has hardly changed in a generation :-)

blacknbrownout said...

(Un)fortunately, my wife is a dentist. We were very fortunate to almost immediately find a family doctor (who had just moved from Edmonton as well) in Coquitlam when we arrived. We heard about him from other medical professionals.

Completely off topic, a large group of our friends and family are foreign-trained medical professionals (doctors incl specialists, dentists, etc.) who have decades of experience but don't have the energy to, essentially, go through medical school and residency again to get certified. Only the youngish ones (under 40) have spent the $200K or so to go through the advanced placement programs ...

p.s. I'm ex-TO and a Habs fan -- for me it was the Ballard Leafs (and him in particular) that made my choice