Housing and transportation woes driving people out of Metro Vancouver

WATCH:  It’s well documented that housing prices across Metro Vancouver are on the rise, but that rise is causing some to leave. Angus Reid Institute Senior Vice President Shachi Kurl speaks with Global about a new poll showing how residents are feeling about rising prices.

VANCOUVER – The rising cost of living in the Lower Mainland is making some question whether living here is actually worth it.

According to a new poll by Angus Reid Institute, an estimated 150,000 families are considering moving away from Metro Vancouver to avoid the region’s housing costs and transportation issues.

“It depends on your personal circumstances,” says Shachi Kurl, Senior Vice President at the Angus Reid Institute.

The comprehensive survey conducted by the opinion research company finds that about 20 per cent of people living in Metro Vancouver are “miserable”, primarily because of long commutes and their inability to access the housing market.

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“Though diverse in their demography, the Miserable are united in their inability to access the housing market, and their long commutes,” reads the report.

READ MORE: Vancouver has 2nd least affordable housing market in the world

The study breaks us down into four categories: Happy, Comfortable, Uncomfortable and Miserable – based mostly on home-ownership and commute time.

The Metro Vancouver Experience: Four different realities of living in this city
The Metro Vancouver Experience: Four different realities of living in this city Angus Reid Institute

85 per cent of the so-called ‘miserable’ say they’re thinking of moving to somewhere more affordable. The number decreases the more financially secure people are.

Older generations dominated the ‘happy’ and ‘comfortable’ demographic, mainly because they are bought homes prior to 2000, when prices were more affordable.

The people on the flipside of the happiness scale were younger individuals with families, looking to buy into the housing market.

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According to Kurl, the older generation are also concerned about the housing market, because the ‘miserable’ demographic often contains their younger relatives.

When asked why the cost of housing is so high, real estate speculation received most of the blame in the poll.

Across all segments, foreign investors were called the top factor for affordability woes at 64 per cent overall. In second place was “investment by the wealthy”, at 45 per cent.

When it came to Vancouver’s housing market, 20 per cent blamed a lack of government action on housing issues, while 16 per cent cited developers not building a sufficient supply of rental housing.

“There is a burning desire…to actually have access to the data that would either prove or disprove this hypothesis,” said Kurl, who said people weren’t satisfied with the response of either the local or provincial government.

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