Skip to main content

Roman Lisagor, 33, is photographed in his Yaletown rental condo where he lives with his pregnant wife in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Roman and Cynthia Lisagor are millennials with no plans to leave Vancouver.

Although they worry sometimes their landlord will sell their two-bedroom, $2,200-a-month Yaletown condo and force them into a frantic hunt for something equivalent, that's not enough to drive them out of the region.

The two – he is a software developer, she works in marketing for Hootsuite – are expecting their first child, but even that isn't enough to make them flee to Victoria, Kelowna or even Coquitlam.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: The dark side of the housing boom

Read more: How six Canadian households are coping with the high cost of home ownership

Subscribers: The economic dangers of cooling Canada's housing market

"I know quite a few people who have talked about that," says Mr. Lisagor.

But not them.

The Lisagors are not unusual.

A new report on the future of housing in B.C., commissioned by a Vancouver-based consulting and branding company that operates internationally, says millennials are the generation that is the most hooked on the Vancouver region and the most committed to staying.

Story continues below advertisement

That's even though the region has seen its housing prices skyrocket to unheard-of heights in the last two years, while local incomes haven't at all kept pace.

A poll of more than 1,700 B.C. residents, done by Insights West for Resonance Consultancy, indicates that 68 per cent of the millennials surveyed would like to live in the Lower Mainland if money were no object.

Only 16 per cent who live here now think they will move away within five years.

But other data in the poll also show that the region is on the verge of a tectonic demographic shift.

That's because a third of boomer homeowners, many retired or on the verge of it, say they're ready to cash out and move to another part of the province in the next five years. That's significantly higher than in any other part of the province, where typically only about 20 per cent of that group say they think they'll move within five years.

Even more striking, half of Gen-Xers who are homeowners say they're ready to move to be able to afford a larger house.

Story continues below advertisement

"This is the big re-sort that is happening here," said Chris Fair, the president of Resonance, who moved his company from New York to Vancouver five years ago.

Mr. Fair, whose company does 80 per cent of its consulting work in the United States, got interested in B.C.'s housing reality in part because he could see the stress of high housing costs among his own staff – something that the poll showed was a widespread phenomenon.

"I think this has significant potential implications for Vancouver's economy if half of the management-age population is planning on selling out and leaving the city in the next five years."

The demographic housing trends are likely to have other impacts as well.

Boomers who plan to move out of the Lower Mainland say they prefer small towns and rural areas.

That is likely to produce a population increase in places that have been shrinking, as long as they have the amenities those boomers want, the study found.

Health care is a prime consideration.

The Okanagan is the preferred destination among those saying they think they will leave the Lower Mainland within five years, while South Vancouver Island is the next choice, so those areas will continue to grow.

One group that is as committed to staying in the Lower Mainland as millennials is B.C. residents of Asian ethnicity (the two groups do intersect).

Among them, 83 per cent said they would like to live in Vancouver.

"That is likely to make the city more Asian in time, which is a continuation of ongoing trends," Mr. Fair said.

A poll of this size is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Mario Canseco, whose company did the polling for the Resonance study, said the Vancouver results echo what he found in Toronto in 2011.

"Toronto was perceived as a magnet. Now Vancouver has supplanted Toronto, particularly because of the tech side of things."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter