Metamorphosis C2: "Why is Vancouver one of the most expensive places to live?"

Hi everyone! My cycle for my second inquiry question this year has come to an end. My question was "Why is Vancouver one of the most expensive places to live?" What I discovered through researching this topic has opened my eyes and made me very aware of all the prices my parents have to pay for gas, food, houses etc. It also gave me insight to how our government is dealing with these problems of high expenses in the city. In the end, I feel I have finished looking into this question, and I will not continue it in my next cycle, but rather look into something else that interests me! 

How has this question impacted your thinking? 

During this cycle, I looked into many areas that could contribute to making Vancouver really expensive. Some of these things were: food prices, gas prices, housing and condos, wages, population etc. The main one that has impacted my thinking the most is housing and condos. This is because my dad talked about the crazy housing market here in Vancouver, long before I started this project. However, back then, I did not have the knowledge I do now to really understand and make my own opinions about this problem. After doing my research, I now realize how hard it is for new families, and lower income families to own/rent/buy a house or even a condo here in the lower mainland. Something I have thought about multiple times is the concept of how foreign buyers are buying too many houses at high prices which is disconnecting the housing market to the labor market. Usually, what people make in a certain area, reflects the prices of the houses in that area to allow this group of people to afford those houses. However, because the houses here are getting bought by people who work outside of Canada, and do not pay income tax, they are raising the housing prices, but wages are staying the same. I feel that looking into this topic has made me more aware of this problem and it has made me understand why so many people are moving to other neighboring areas like Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, etc. I personally know many people who have moved out there, and this is because people cannot afford these prices, and they want to be able to own a nice house without huge mortgages so that they can still enjoy fun activities and buy nice things.  

How will this investigation impact the decisions you make? 

 I feel that for the most part, the knowledge I found won't impact the decisions I make now, but rather in the future. For example, when I am older and plan on investing in my own home or condo, I feel this investigation will definitely impact where I choose to live and buy real estate. Not only housing, but prices of other things like food and gas. If you do not know already, gas has been extremely expensive in Vancouver lately, and I feel that will contribute to where I choose to live too. However, because of this research I found that the gas prices here have risen for many reasons, one being that we only have 2 local refineries working right now, and the rest we are importing from other places. Additionally, I feel my knowledge on this topic will greatly impact my decisions when I am allowed to vote. I will have a better understanding about what each party is offering and how it may help the living conditions of the citizens. This is huge, because during this project I looked into the new budget the NDP provincial government proposed in order to help with housing problems, and when I am older I will now do the same to ensure that who I am voting for, has the ideas that best fit my needs.  

 What broader impacts will this new knowledge have on others locally and globally? 

Locally, I hope this information will impact the understanding people have about many of the issues causing Vancouver to be very expensive. I have seen this happen already from the comments I have received on some of my rounds of research where some people have said they never knew why these things were happening, but they are glad to know now since they live here and go through these things just like me. As well, I hope the people that live here locally could become aware of these problems and start to use some of the solutions I mentioned in my rounds. For example, infill housing to tackle housing prices, using public transportation to avoid high gas prices, etc. 

On a global scale, I feel that some of this information will impact people trying to buy real estate here in Canada, but they live outside of Canada. This is because new rules are being put in place to try and stabilize these high prices by implementing new things such as raising the foreign buyers' tax, the speculation tax, and the pre-sales registry for condos. This will make it harder for people living outside of Canada to buy all of the real estate, and it will make sure they don't have a head start on jumping on listings before they are made available to the public here.  

Challenges I had to overcome:  

One of the biggest challenges I had was staying on track with the question I intended to answer from the beginning. There was a midpoint in my project where my research round sounded a little bit like a tourist website listing all the best places to visit in Vancouver. I did not mean for it to be like that, I was trying to explain all the great things Vancouver had to offer which could be a big reason why so many people want to live here. However, I kind of got out of hand, and started describing how wonderful these places were. Another challenge I faced, was creating my project plan. At the beginning, I had some very big concepts that I was planning on tackling in this cycle, however, I was glad to receive a comment suggesting I break up those topics a bit more to make it easier to understand and research.  

And that's it for my cycle 2! I hope you all enjoyed reading my posts and thank you for the comments and suggestions you provided me! I am not sure what my next cycle will be focused on, but I look forward to discovering another interest I have and sharing my new findings with all of you! 

Original Post

Hey Madison, 

Nice way to wrap up your research cycle! Vancouver is certainly a very expensive place to live especially due to the rapid and substantial increase in housing prices it has become a difficult place to live! As you addressed it is a bit of a mess with investors from all over and with a huge spectrum of desires trying to develop in Vancouver and the result is that the prices grow for everyone! 

Looking forward to your next cycle of research!

Ben 

 Hi Madison! 

 I enjoyed reading your research over the course of the last cycle. I found it very interesting and helpful for my own life. I think this research will definitely influence anybody who lives in or plans on living in Vancouver. I wonder what other cities and suburbs around the world have crazy housing prices and why. 

 I also found it interesting how you mentioned this will affect how you make decisions when you’re of the age to vote. It’s so important for people around our age to think about what kind of future they want and how to make it happen. 

 I can’t wait to see more research with your next topic! 

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