The sun is coming out and the city feels so beautiful! I think we’ll go to the beach today, or maybe I’ll go for a scenic evening bike ride.
Unfortunately, the nicer weather means I remember why I love Vancouver, which means I’m less likely to leave. As mentioned before, Vancouver is very expensive. It’s so expensive, in fact, you cannot have a prolonged conversation with someone without talking about it – at least, not if that person is under 35.
There’s a lot of anger about it, and a lot of frustration – I’m less angry now than I was, but at times, I’ve been very angry. I’m not alone: there have been a whack of articles about it in newspapers and magazines, and I read just about every one. I notice that the articles almost always appear on the website “most read” lists. (Please, oh please, let this post get some of that juice!)
Here are the best I’ve read over the past couple of weeks:
- The Walrus had a long article called “The Highest Bidder“. It looked at Chinese investment driving up housing prices, as well as our current red herring scapegoat, shadow flipping. I’m reluctant to jump on board with this article: while it gave a good overview, I doubt it’s only foreign Chinese money driving the prices up, though very wealthy Chinese people are a tempting target for the ire of those with less wealth. (So, basically: everyone.) Me? When I was mad, I was mad at more than just superrich Chinese people: don’t worry, my anger does not discriminate. 😉
- One of the Vancouver Sun columnists had a refreshing article on “The other site of the housing coin“. The Walrus article had opened with the reporter interviewing a woman in a nice neighbourhood. The woman was standing at the door of her parents’ 2-story bungalow, on a standard lot, and she was shaking with anger at “what was happening in her neighbourhood”. I read that and thought: “God, she’s lucky – living in a two-story single family house with a standard sized lot! All that space! That is unimaginable for so, so many young families. How could she possibly be mad?” But those people, they’re not called into question in a lot of the articles. The Vancouver Sun one, however, contained this gem:
But what of those who aren’t priced out of the market, who are the market, who have a home to sell, who wish to downsize, who want that new car or shorefront property they’ve always lusted for? We hear so few of their voices, other than those who bemoan the fact their children will likely not be able to grow up in the neighbourhood in which they were raised. Yet those children will also inherit their parents’ windfall, and that cannot be ignored. Nor can the public’s capacity for greed. If Metro Vancouver has a Silent Majority, I bet it’s those homeowners who tsk-tsk the insanity of the market but who, in the back of their minds, can’t deny the craven whisper of, “Please God, let this market stay hot until I can cash out big.”
- San Francisco has it’s own hot housing – driven largely by tech money – so I like to read up on how they’re dealing with it. Not well, it seems: nearby Palo Alto is looking at building subsidized housing for families earning up to $250,000/year, according to the New Yorker. As the writer put it: “It has become clear that the American Dream needs roadwork: there are unpaved gaps in the route between subsistence and prosperity.”
In other news:
- Some disappointing behaviour in Australia about a feminist cupcake sale. Crazy how many of the comments on the article had to be deleted!
- “More Than One Medical Student at UVA Believes Black People Don’t Feel Pain” – Um, WTF?
- A local mall has picked a fight with some Chess players. One of the quotes made me laugh: “The game has just begun … This is real chess, as we live it.”