I purchased my first home in Kamloops back in 1988, and at the time I paid $68,500. The interest rate was 11% but the payments were manageable.
We did not have new vehicles or fancy toys. We lived within our means. Eating in a restaurant was a treat for special occasions. Credit card bills, if there were any, were paid off every month. Mother was able to stay at home with the children.
Now, this same property is assessed at $652,000—almost 10 times more than what we paid. The problem is wages have not gone up 10 times from what I was earning back in 1988. Both parents now have to work just to be able to own a home and survive.
So, how did all this happen?
As far as I am concerned, all this started when Expo 86 opened (in Vancouver in 1986) and this country was opened to the world. The influx of immigration was huge after the world’s fair. The Lower Mainland was filling up with new people and homes. People started moving to areas less expensive, like Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford and the rest of the Fraser Valley.
Eventually, prices got so high in those areas people started moving to the Okanagan, the Columbia-Shuswap area, and northern B.C. just to be able to afford a home.
The same thing has now happened in those areas as well. Home prices have gone up and so has rent. Supply is short and demand is high, so there goes the increase in prices.
At this point, I don’t know how anyone can afford to buy a home, or even pay the exorbitant high rent landlords are asking.
Over the past 30 or so years, how could governments have not seen this coming? Low-income housing should have been started a long time ago and not waited until it became a crisis.
I am not just talking about the homeless. Everyone should be able to have a roof over their heads where it does not cost more that what they earn.