From Ken Ohrn:
Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite and Gary Mason in the Globe and Mail are both in the conversation the last few days over assertions that we have a mass outward migration of young’uns in full stampede due to housing unaffordability.
Mr. Mason quotes Mr. Holmes:
Vancouver risks becoming an economic ghost town, a city with no viable economy – other than the service industry catering to wealthy residents and tourists,” Mr. Holmes wrote.
Here’s a contrary opinion, rooted in 2006-2011 census data, from Nathanael Lauster, Associate Professor in Sociology at UBC.
What about the City of Vancouver? For those in their late teens and early twenties, the phrase “pouring in” is simply inadequate. We have a tsunami on our hands. Why? Probably in part because Vancouver is a university town – in fact it’s MY university town. But also because central cities tend to attract young people, provide them with jobs, and provide the diverse kinds of housing stock able to support them.
It’s true that the balance shifts between the City of Vancouver and the rest of the metropolitan region as people age. The City of Vancouver is a net loser for people in their thirties and beyond. No doubt many of them are looking for more spacious and affordable housing, and they would stay in the City if they could find it there. But crossing the border into Burnaby, or down to Surrey, or out to Coquitlam, seems like pretty normal circulation. The type experienced by central cities everywhere (yes, I checked, and Toronto experiences it too).
2016 is upon us, and soon we’ll have a new census. We’ll all be eagerly awaiting the results (well, anyone who has bothered to read this far, anyway). Who knows? It’s possible patterns will have shifted by then. But it’s also worth holding on to a healthy dose of skepticism. Vancouver has at least 99 problems associated with housing affordability, but losing our lifeblood ain’t one.