Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The American, er, Victorian, Dream

Today's Times Colonist had an article on the dream of home owernership in Victoria, titled "Dream of owning a home slipping out of reach".

Ok, this is not something new. I think that a lot of people, myself included, who did not get into the market 5 years ago, have been feeling this for some time. The subject in the article is quite typical of many people. Her situation is compounded by being a single mother. She would have to travel back in time to 1991 in order to buy a house for the mortgage that she qualifies for (assuming she has a 25% downpayment). Last I checked, time travel had not yet been perfected.

I've lamented to my father, who still lives on the prairies, numerous times over the real estate prices in Victoria. His response is that I should suck it up because I live in the California of Canada. I guess that this is true. If someone moaned and complained about real estate prices in Malibu, California, would we feel sorry for them? I doubt it. I wouldn't. Move somewhere else!

I think that the "move somewhere else" philosophy may soon start applying to Victoria, Vancouver, etc. If current real estate prices are here to stay, and increases in wages do not follow, then us renters will have to re-evaluate our life priorities. Which is more important to us - home ownership or living in Victoria? As in the Demographia survey, there certainly are less expensive, more affordable, places to live! Regina, Winnipeg, Quebec City! In those cities, a single mother, or father, or any single income family can afford a home.

And there are places closer to Victoria than Regina where affordability is better - Campbell River, Ladysmith, even Duncan. A new 1600 sq. ft. townhome in Duncan can be bought for just over $220k. A steal of a price compared to Victoria.

It looks like if the current prices in Victoria or here to stay, we'll be renting for some time, or moving elsewhere! How about you?