Vancouver Still a Desirable City to Work Despite Housing Prices
With the climbing housing prices and the stagnant salary and job growth, Vancouver’s desirability is being questioned. According to Demographia’s annual survey of 360 housing markets in nine western countries Vancouver ranks second in having the least affordable housing.
Despite expensive housing prices, job seekers rated Vancouver as one of the most desirable cities in Canada to relocate to.
Cost of living and housing prices are brought up in discussions with candidates who are considering moving to BC much less often now than they did in previous years. The main reason for this is that, although housing has become more expensive, the differential between Vancouver area housing and other urban areas in Canada is much smaller.
Based on CBC’s housing prices report, despite repeated warnings of an overheated market home purchases in Canada’s largest cities continued to grow.
Average Price of Detached Homes in 2013
Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan used to be extremely cheap compared to Vancouver. They still are but, they are not cheap due to the economic booms that the resource industries have brought to those markets.
Report recently released, by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute, examines real estate investment, development and home building in nine major urban centers across North America. Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 identifies Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon in Canada as the hottest housing markets, due to their economic boom.
We speak to candidates in all parts of the country on a regular basis regarding positions in Vancouver and I cannot remember the last time that housing costs were mentioned as a deterrent.
Family and personal motivations are by far the most common reasons why a candidate declines the opportunity to relocate to Vancouver.
In terms of international candidates, if it is regarding an executive level position, the salary/income range of the position is usually such that cost of living is not an issue. Every international executive level candidate I have ever spoken to in 25 years as a recruiter has expressed the opinion that Vancouver would be a desirable place to relocate to if the career opportunity was in line with their interests and aspirations.
For non international executives, the opportunity to move to Canada is the main attraction and Vancouver is an added bonus on top of that. If an engineer or programmer or medical specialist or a plumber is moving from a second or 3rd world country they will never see our housing costs as a problem. Even with high housing costs the quality of life here, education, health care, environment, personal safety, access to nature and outdoors etc, make housing costs a non issue.
If the candidate is coming from Western Europe, they are used to a higher living cost and even though our housing costs are more on paper than Zurich, London or Frankfurt the standard of living they can afford here when all is taken into account, taxes, food costs, auto affordability, size of apartments, close to ocean and mountains, green space, etc the quality and standard of living is perceived as high or higher than where they are coming from.