It has been Duke of Data Andy Yan who has been reminding us forever that there is a radical disconnect between household income and the price of housing. People working in Metro Vancouver can’t afford to buy housing here.
In 2017 Mr. Yan summed it up this way:
“It’s surprising to me that we have only the 15th highest incomes in Metro Vancouver, even coming behind Toronto. What we learned today is in Vancouver you are living in paradise, but your wages are in purgatory.”
The median household income Mr. Yan was referring to is $72,662. At that time he saw the major issue was how to reconnect local incomes to local housing, noting that needed policy enactment would be different in each city.
Photographer and former editor of Price Tags Ken Ohrn sends along this article by Natalie Obiko Pearson who writes that Amazon. com is expecting to triple its workforce in Vancouver. Why? Because software engineers here are “cheap, smart and plentiful”, like an overabundant agricultural crop.
A conversation with an Amazon vice president revealed that a “weak loonie, lower wages and a steady flow of graduates make Canada an attractive place to expand for tech companies whose largest expense is labour”.
The salaries in Vancouver are substantially less than for similar jobs south of the border, as are office rents.
“The average wage of a software developer in Vancouver last year was $92,726, compared to $141,785 in San Francisco or $128,067 in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, according to a July report by real estate firm CBRE Group Inc. Once rental costs are folded in, the cost of running a 500-employee operation in the Canadian city is half that of a similar-sized operation in the Bay Area, it found.”
Vancouver has the “fastest-growing” tech labour pool and that quality and work experience is in the top ten of all the fifty labour markets analyzed by the firm. I have already written about Amazon repurposing the old downtown Vancouver post office which was to house 2,000 employees by 2020. In fact 2,700 Amazon staff now work downtown with a total of 8,000 jobs anticipated by 2023 in the redeveloped post office which will house 1.1 million square feet.
And there’s a call right now for 3,000 workers for Amazon in downtown Vancouver.
The YouTube video below from November 2019 outlines how the post office is being renovated to accommodate the new Amazon work space, using some unique approaches to construction.