Loading articles...

Moving to the suburbs isn't the solution to finding an affordable home: local reporter

Last Updated Jun 5, 2015 at 9:56 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Reporter with The Tyee pens pointed response to suggestion that first-time buyers need to go to the suburbs

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Where do you stand in the debate over Vancouver’s sky-high housing prices?

Should first-time buyers be able to live in the city or, as some experts have suggested, should they head for the suburbs instead?

A reporter with The Tyee online newspaper has penned a pointed response to the suggestion from some developers and realtors.

In “Stop Telling Me to Move to the Suburbs,” Katie Hyslop says moving south of the Fraser isn’t that much cheaper.

That’s particularly the case if you continue to work in Vancouver, argues Hyslop.

“The amount of money you’re paying in transit, especially the further you get out into the suburbs, you’re actually not saving any money at all.”

She adds housing prices have become disconnected from incomes.

“For instance, Canada-wide, median incomes increased 5.5 per cent between 1976 and 2009. Meanwhile, Vancouver has some of the lowest median incomes in the country, particularly for some of our most educated. So, people who have bachelor degrees, masters degrees, PhDs, they’re not making near as much money in Vancouver as they are in other parts of the country. Housing prices have also gone up enormously, just in the past 10 years.”

So, Hyslop says it’s not just a matter of young people not working hard or saving any money. When she hears the argument that Millennials are entitled, Hyslop thinks people perhaps aren’t listening.

“Maybe because they went through this situation themselves and they picked up and moved to the suburbs and it wasn’t that bad for them. Or maybe they really enjoy it. But it also goes through my mind that I think most generations — at least, when we’re going back to maybe my grandparents — have helped their kids buy a house. For instance, I’m not from Vancouver originally, but my parents got a down payment from their parents in order to buy their first home. So the fact that we’re suddenly supposed to be doing this all on our own and are being called selfish or entitled or lazy for expecting to be able to live in the city that we work in, that really annoys me,” she tells us.

Hyslop doesn’t think we should all expect to live in a single family home. Instead, she suggests we look at things like co-op housing, townhouses, co-living situations, or making rents more affordable. She adds it’s about living comfortably in the city we work in.