Friday, May 28, 2010

Dreams floating away

The other day I was reading an article in the magazine Money Sense. Using criteria, like affordability, safety and health care, it ranked 179 Canadian cities and generated a list of the country's best places to live. Vancouver, which is often seen as a leader when it comes to livability, ranked 29th. The reason for its poor performance was pretty clear - Vancouver is the least affordable city in the country.

The average price of a home here is $762,000 and if you look at single, detached homes, some surveys say prices have hit $1,000,000. Now contrast this with the average household income of $80,000 and you can begin to see how difficult it is for folks like Brendon and I to get into the housing market.

While it's pretty obvious that financial barriers are keeping many Vancouverites from owning homes, over the last number of years I have seen a number of creative solutions to affordability. For Brendon and I the laneway housing policy is one such innovation. Co-ownership and secondary suites are other examples. I have to admit though, Gerald (one of my work colleagues) takes the cake when it comes to creative solutions.

Last week Gerald bought a home for $1, picked it up (literally) and moved it over to Vancouver Island.

A small business has emerged that purchases homes slated for demolition and moves them to a location in the region. Gerald bought a beautiful 1940s home in North Vancouver and moved it to Fanny Bay on the island. He moved it to his partner's parents land.

For G-man and his family this solution addressed some of the financial barriers to living on the west coast. It also saved a beautiful home that would have otherwise been slated for demolition.

For more information about a company that saves houses slated for demolition by moving them by land and sea, check out Nickel Bros.

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