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Amazon’s plan to hire 3,000 people at a new facility in downtown Vancouver has raised concerns about an influx of new workers competing in an expensive housing market — in a region with among the lowest tech-sector salaries in North America.

The U.S. online retailer announced this week it will be moving its Vancouver base into the city’s historic main post office, which will be renovated over the next several years and open in 2022.

The announcement immediately prompted comparisons to Seattle, where Amazon has been blamed for increasing rents and housing prices as the company hired tens of thousands of workers in recent years.

But people working in and observing the Vancouver tech sector say Amazon is likely to pull up tech-sector salaries in the region and those well-paid workers won’t be the ones who will struggle to find housing.

Amazon’s expansion “is going to boost salaries,” said James Raymond, the manager for research and analysis at the Vancouver Economic Commission.

Mr. Raymond oversaw the bid document that Vancouver submitted to become Amazon’s second headquarters. Vancouver failed to make the company’s shortlist in January, with Toronto the only remaining city in contention.

Vancouver’s bid was criticized for the way it sold the region as a place with the lowest tech salaries in North America — as much as 25 per cent less than in the United States.

Mr. Raymond said it’s true that Vancouver salaries are lower. But he said that’s in part because American statistics on tech-worker salaries include the hefty employee benefits that they get in order to be provided with health care.

As well, the increasing difference between the Canadian and American dollars has meant that U.S. employees appear to be getting better pay over the years, even if the only difference is the exchange rate.

However, Mr. Raymond, as well as local tech workers, say the salaries for people being hired by the numerous American-based companies operating in Vancouver are much better than those of local tech companies — often start-ups that pay more like $30,000 to $60,000 a year. Computer-science graduates right out of school start at $65,000 a year, he said, and within 10 years, some can be making closer to $200,000.

Vancouver’s Amazon bid also acknowledged the region’s continuing housing crisis. Home prices have skyrocketed in recent years, with detached homes fetching well over $1-million, while the rental market suffers from increasing rates and near-zero vacancy.

The bigger effect will be on lower-income earners, whether locals or some of the 40,000 people taking new jobs in the region every year, who will find themselves being outbid for accommodations unless the region can supply a lot more.

Local housing planners hope the latter scenario is what plays out.

“We’ve had 7,500 new rental units approved since 2010 and there are 3,000 under construction,” Vancouver’s assistant director of housing policy, Dan Garrison said. “We know there will be housing demand. That’s why we’re anticipating the kind of targets you saw in our housing plan.”

Although those new units often rent at fairly high prices, starting at $1,600 for a studio, Mr. Garrison said having them available for the new high earners will keep those employees from going to existing older apartments and out-bidding other residents.

A University of Washington professor in Seattle said Vancouver needs to be prepared for the potential changes because of how much Amazon is recruiting from every university in North America. The company has hired as many as 10,000 people a year in its recent growth spurt, bringing in many from out of town.

“They are the No. 1 employer of new graduates at the University of Chicago,” said Jake Vigdor, who specializes in public policy and urban planning. “They’re not just hiring a tech work force, but economists and others.”

Mr. Vigdor said Vancouver has some advantages that Seattle doesn’t yet: dense development in pockets throughout the region and a relatively advanced rapid-transit system.

But that won’t protect it forever. The one piece of luck for Vancouver, he says, is that it didn’t win the competition for Amazon’s second headquarters, a contest that is still going as cities try to sell themselves as the ideal location for the anticipated 50,000 employees.

“To the extent that any of your locals are worried,” Mr. Vigdor said, “at least you’re not going to be [the second Amazon headquarters].”