Vancouver’s high real estate costs could cause a labour crisis: Report

WATCH ABOVE: Andy Broderick with Vancity discusses a new report that finds rising housing prices are pushing millennials out of Metro Vancouver.

VANCOUVER – A new report is calling on the provincial government for change to prevent a future labour crisis.

The Vancity study found that rising real estate prices are driving workers out of Metro Vancouver.

“What we’re trying to do is spend a lot of attention on housing affordability and how difficult it is to buy a house in the market,” said Andy Broderick, Vancity vice-president of community investment.

“What we’re trying to do is look at, if the trends continue, especially when you look at where wages have gone over the last 15 years, what’s the relationship between wages and home ownership and they’re troubling trends.”

Broderick said by about 2025, an income of about $125,000 would be needed to afford the mortgage on the average home in Metro Vancouver. Only those with jobs such as senior business managers, senior construction managers and engineering managers will be able to maintain affordable housing. “The basic challenge is that the inflation rate of housing has been running in the neighbourhood of 60 per cent over the last 15 years and wage levels have been running at about half that, a little less than that,” added Broderick.

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According to the report, the future growth of Metro Vancouver is dependent on high-quality labour, which is threatened by the rapid increase in the cost of living. It predicts Metro Vancouver’s housing crisis will motivate millennials (those born from about 1980 to 2000) to leave the region in search of better opportunities, leading to a labour crisis.

“My advice to millennials is to recognize that there will be some level of adjustment of expectations,” said Broderick. “Vancouver’s a beautiful place, the Lower Mainland’s beautiful, there’s so many amenities that we have access to. You have access to those as a renter or an owner, in a condo or a single-family home, and the key is to recognize that there’s high value in the infrastructure the community has built, and that we all try to maintain it and to recognize, going forward, more of us may be renters long-term.”

He added the keys to preventing this labour crisis is stronger regional planning and municipalities with to address its ability to add density to drive development in a direction they want it to go.

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