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a sign of the times

I bought my first house in 1996 for $120,000 Canadian Dollars. This was before the big real estate booms that came much later and even now the average price of a home in Montreal does not exceed $400,000 which helps it remain a largely livable city.

Contrast this with Vancouver or Toronto where the price is real estate is sky rocketing at an alarming rate. Vancouver has had to slap on a 15% foreign buyer tax to try and cool a market where bidding wars are not unheard of and where houses and condos remain empty waiting for their foreign owners to move in. Meanwhile local potential buyers are left out in the cold as prices soar.

A young professional couple in this scenario is in trouble and they needn’t be in a hurry to purchase since owning property is increasingly becoming a pipe dream. Part of the problem is that widening global income disparity is giving that upper crust the flexibility to outbid in any market.

Central Toronto contains tiny bungalows that are now going for close to $1 Million dollars in a city where gridlock has become the norm and commutes to work can take well over an hour. As the search for cheaper homes drives urban sprawl, the likelihood of a reasonable regular commute becomes untenable and impractical.

American cities like New York and Los Angeles have long suffered this problem and there are others all over the world where the cost of living there has become astronomically high.

All of this has caused a shift in urban planning and forcing transport authorities to develop options to meet the demands of their shifting reality. In turn young graduates are opting to abandon the nuclear family concept in favor of more flexible working hours to offset commute issues as well as adopting more entrepreneurial ways to develop careers in a world where company loyalty towards the employee is no longer guaranteed.

Just another sign of the times.


Comments

  1. Your analysis is accurate. New York has experienced this and my recent visits to Vancouver and Toronto confirmed similar appreciation there. What props real estate values up beyond the norm in these three cities is the presence of rich foreign buyers. Their willingness and ability to pay higher prices drives the market up to the point where many locals can no longer afford to stay in their own city. It's a shame.

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  2. unfortunately there is no easy fix other than protectionist taxation to cool the market. it seems to be starting to work in Vancouver where whole sections of buildings would sit empty while the locals count not find affordable options.

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  3. Tack on the issue of outrageous medical costs for Americans, and the sense of despair increases exponentially. Tack on education debt on top, and my home country has essentially joined the third world.

    I know hard working professionals with doctoral degrees who, despite all their accomplishments and having finally landed a job that suits their taining and ability, live small paycheck to small paycheck, knowing that they are one illness away from plunging into the yawning chasm of poverty on whose edge they are precariously perched. They are the most resourceful people in the world, finding new ways to survive and feed their families, including renting homes (often now owned by banks who foreclosed on previous owners) with other families to keep costs down.

    We have rewarded those who make money for the sake of making money, producing nothing, and impoverished our intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, etc.

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