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A large percentage of Metro Vancouver homeowners are considering cashing out their real estate gains and moving to more affordable markets—both in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere. These and other sentiments are captured in Resonance Consultancy’s new Future of B.C. Housing study, just as British Columbians have identified housing as the top provincial election issue this Spring.

Vancouver, BC – According to a new study conducted by Insights West for Resonance Consultancy, a global advisor on real estate, tourism and economic development, a staggering 34% of Metro Vancouver homeowners say they are planning to sell their homes and move to more affordable markets in the next five years—the highest percentage compared to homeowners in other regions of the province.

Even more alarming is the sentiment that 40% of Gen-X (aged 35 to 54) homeowners in Metro Vancouver are considering selling their home and moving to a more affordable market. This decreases to 35% among Millennials and 28% among Boomer homeowners.



Local business leaders leaving?

“Potentially losing 40% of the management-age population in the city of Vancouver could have serious implications for the future of Vancouver’s economy,” warns Chris Fair, president of Resonance Consultancy. “Even if half of that divestment is re-allocated to more affordable housing in the Lower Mainland, there is the threat of thousands of middle managers and senior leaders leaving local companies already struggling with finding staff.”

“More than a quarter of local Boomers are certainly looking to cash out of Vancouver, but it’s the fact that two-in-five Vancouverites in their peak earning years are planning to do so that really surprised us,” says Fair.

Resonance Consultancy’s findings in the Future of B.C. Housing study are contrary to the long-held belief that it’s the Boomers who will lead a Vancouver exodus.

Among those who are looking to move to a more affordable market, Metro Vancouver homeowners aged 35 to 54 (Gen-X) lead this Greater Vancouver group (at 47%), followed by Boomers (32%) and Millennials (21%).

So what do the city’s 35- to 54-year-olds want from their next home?

The recent rise in house prices has had a significant impact on Metro Vancouverites’ house price-to-income gap. When asked about the most important features a future home should possess, four-in-five Metro Vancouver residents (82%) indicate cost of housing, while nearly two-thirds (60%) focus on having a private outdoors space (a yard or balcony). For Gen-Xers, cost of housing (83%), private outdoor space (68%) and proximity to work (62%) are most important.

As a result, most Gen-Xers living in Metro Vancouver (89%) feel that the region is unaffordable, followed by Millennials (86%) and Boomers (85%). Compared to Boomers (22%), Gen-X (30%) and Millennial (28%) respondents who are likely to move in the next 5 years say they dedicate a larger portion of their household income to mortgage or rent payments, on average. When asked about their maximum income allocation to housing, on average, Gen-X (34%) and Millennials (33%) would dedicate a larger proportion to shelter than Boomers (24%)—percentages higher than the 30% national affordable housing ratio.

About Resonance Consultancy:

Resonance Consultancy specializes in research, development strategy, place branding and place marketing that shapes the future of countries, cities, and communities. Based in Vancouver and New York, the 18 employees at Resonance have completed more than 100 research reports, development strategies, business plans and branding projects for real estate developers, tourism organizations and governments in more than 75 countries.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from October 13 to October 31, 2016, among 1,714 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 2.4 percentage points.

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For further information, please contact:

Tom Gierasimczuk
Vice President & Chief Content Officer
Resonance Consultancy

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs
Insights West


Photograph: Ruth Hartnup