Okay…how many of you have actually thought about just throwing in the towel and either cashing in (if you already own) or leaving Vancouver altogether? Every few months or so, my husband and I have “the talk”.
The MLS (a.k.a., Realtor.ca) is like crack to me. I just can’t stop looking at houses. I troll around on there at least three times a week to check out the recent listings in my neighbourhood. This is because, although I love my home, I know our family will outgrow it. We have two bedrooms. Our son and daughter currently share one. Therefore, we will need to either create another bedroom or move to a place that has three. Unfortunately, our options are few. We could sell our home. When be purchased it almost 4 years ago, our neighbourhood was affordable to us. Now, with the huge increase in housing prices and lack of increase to our own salaries, we couldn’t afford our own house if we were to buy it today. So…yes, we could sell our home…but where would we go?
Option one is that we’d move out further, into the suburbs.
Now, we have explored the suburban option. There are so many beautiful, amazing communities beyond “Vancouver” proper. And the bang that you get for your buck is amazing. What gets us every time, however, and deters us from making that move right now are two things. Family and work. I am really, really close to my family. I love that my kids can pop over to Nana and Grandad’s anytime. I have a special needs brother who, as my parents age, I would like to be close by for as part of an extended support network. My work (and my husband’s) is based in the city. The idea of spending so much time commuting is a concept that I can’t get my head around. I know lots of people do it every single day…however, when you have never had to commute, I think it would take some time to get used to. So…for now…a move further out of the city is off the table.
Another option, would be to downsize out of a house. I thought I liked this idea until I did the math. Perhaps it is because I work full-time and maintaining a house is, in fact, a full time job in itself. We’ve looked at townhouses in our area (very few ever become available) and although they are lovely…they are expensive. We recently a viewed a 3 bedroom townhome not far away from where we currently live. It was $200K more than what we paid for our house!! So basically, we would be downsizing without benefiting financially, which to me doesn’t really make sense.
Option 3…sell our house and rent for a while hoping for a major market correction to come. There are so many unknowns with this option. Will the market actually correct? If it does, would it be enough for us to get back on the property ladder? I don’t deal well in uncertainly, so – unless we did it with the intention of never buying in Vancouver again – this option is null and void to me.
Finally, we’ve even discussed leaving Vancouver altogether and moving abroad (we both have Irish citizenship, so can basically live and work anywhere in the European Union). It’s kind of a conversation that doesn’t go anywhere, however. My family is here and so are my friends. And I’m a person who likes having those people close by. We’ve lived abroad, away from family and friends and it’s not something we feel we could do “forever”. So…moving to a quaint European town or sunny tropical island isn’t an option…as heavenly as that sounds!
So…for now we’re staying put. As for what we’ll do when the time comes that it’s no longer really appropriate for our kids to share a room, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I realize that this is a “first world problem,” and want to convey that I know how lucky and blessed I am to have a roof over my head, food in my belly and family and friends around me. However, it’s still something I think about…and am wondering if you do the same?