I live in the most expensive city in North America.
One of the regular topics of conversation here is the affordability crisis, and rightfully so. My generation has little chance of ever affording a home.
For people in my age group, a respectable dream entails traveling the world or making it into medical school, but neversaving enough to buy a house in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Even winning the lottery or colonizing Mars is more plausible. Unless, of course, one of our side hustles takes off, or we make it big on TikTok.
Older people are often just as bewildered, except for those who purchased their properties back in the 70s or 80s.
Even so, many middle-aged folks live paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by under the heavy burden of criminally overpriced rents and ruthless landlords.
According to Statistics Canada, it’s already happening.
While this prediction may seem overblown to you, a quick glance at the houses on this list will be enough to convince you that Vancouver, like many other North American cities, is no longer a livable place for first-time home buyers.
1. Price reduced!
As the realtor excitedly states in the listing: “PRICE REDUCED!!”
At just $2,398,000, this humble abode comes fully equipped with two bedrooms and a laundry machine. What a steal!
The inside of the building looks almost industrial, with the ceiling tiles, cracked walls, and glaring light reminding me of my high school science classroom.
In total honesty, the house has a nice garden and is close to my favorite park in Vancouver. But I’m not sure these two endearing features are worth more than three decades of an average person’s salary.
2. The fixer upper
Space wise, this listing isn’t awful.
It boasts six bedrooms and four baths, but no photographs are provided of these rooms — or any other indoor spaces, for that matter.
Other than the boarded up windows, rotten wood, and inaccessible entrance, the worst part about the property is its location.
It resides in one of the most neglected parts of the city, where several violent crimes have occurred in recent years.
Even so, the house lists at a steep $1,299,000.
3. A room with a view
This charming family two-bedroom, one-bath home is selling for a measly $2.2 million.
Guests are enticed by black mold and chipped paint adorning the outer walls, but the best part is the major street the house faces. Residents are sure to find comfort in the ceaseless blaring of horns and roaring engines.
At least there’s no shortage of parking.
The indoor space is left a mystery. Because there are no photos included in the listing showing the interior, it is plausible the property is being sold as a tear down — another factor exacerbating the housing crisis.
4. A parking space
At $72,000, this parking space is painted with a pleasing shade of yellow with its very own (shared) air vent. With zero heating, it can get chilly during the winter, but at least you’ll be saving on energy bills.
The small blobs of mold on the wall add a decorative touch to an otherwise minimalist space.
This one is very obviously a joke, but also, the only thing I can afford on this list.
I guess owning a parking space in the basement of an apartment building is better than nothing, right?
5. Standing room only
With only two beds and one bath, this $2,290,000 dwelling resembles more of a hobbit hole than a multi-million-dollar property.
Like many others in this article, he listing includes no images of the inside of the house. Nor does it include any other angles, leading one to suspect the realtor is hiding something ominous.
It always astounds me that so many real estate listings come without photos. Often times if listings like this one do include photos, they are blurry or taken on an old iPhone camera.
Despite (or, maybe, because of) paying them so much, some Vancouver realtors don’t even try anymore.
How can a person be expected to even consider buying a house when they don’t know what the kitchen looks like?
6. A fabulous neighbourhood
Built in 1957, this tiny home would sell for a couple hundred thousand dollars at most in the United States. In the 50s, it would have been even less.
In Vancouver, Canada during the year 2022, it’s a different story. Justified by the supposedly spectacular neighborhood, the home is selling for $2,249,900.
The house also apparently has a fully furnished basement, but we’ll have to take the realtor’s word for it.
Predictably, there are no pictures other than this one, which mostly consists of parched grass.
7. Purple carpet
Have you ever wanted to live in a $1.5 million single-story house with a 1970s purple carpet, a dilapidated garden and a single, very cramped bathroom?
Look no further! This house has all these features and more.
Candidly, this house isn’t all bad. With the removal of the carpet and a few small renovation jobs, it could be livable.
After all, there’s an apple tree in the garden and a stunning view of the mountains — one of the things that makes Vancouver irresistible for so many people.
And at least the listing includes pictures of the entire house.
Does this mean the home is worth $1.5 million? Certainly not.
I know Vancouver is crazy expensive and that my tone has been quite disparaging up to this point.
Many people tell me to move to a small town or another city with more affordable homes.
Maybe, one day, I will do just that. But it’s hard to live the city you grew up in; where all your friends and family still live. For all its quirks, Vancouver is still a lovable city, with mountains and an ocean and many different cultures.
So while I save my money and complain about house prices with my friends, I hope and pray for a miracle.
Hopefully one day, the government will finally do something to prevent Vancouver — and other cities — from becoming a haven for the ultra rich and an unattainable dream for everyone else.