Myth Busting: Millennials and Vancouver Real Estate

We’ve all heard that millennials are being priced out of the city. Just compare the average income to the average cost of a home. Whether it be a condo, townhouse, or detached dwelling, there is significant imbalance.

An article in The Vancouver Sun in the fall of 2017 reported that the median total income for households in Metro Vancouver was $65,241, while the average price of a home is $1.4 million. It’s no wonder why many are claiming that millennials have it much worse than previous generations.

Given current headlines, it’s understandable to think that there are less and less millennials living in city because they are being priced out. But just how accurate is this claim?

Before we jump to conclusions, let’s take a look at what the trends and patterns are for millennials, their housing choice, and their mobility patterns.

What are millennials?


The general consensus is that millennials are those who were born between 1981 to 2000, and are approximately 18 to 37 years old. Given the recent data, there are actually more millennials today in the City of Vancouver than we had five years ago, at 218,250 people.

This is despite the fact that housing prices increased significantly between 2011 and 2015.

“It’s difficult to reconcile this notion that we can't keep millennials in this city, when this is the biggest number we’ve seen to date,” said Ryan Berlin, Senior Economist at Rennie.

So then why are people leaving?


Today, the average age women are having children is in their early thirties. As the majority of millennials live in condo dwellings, once their family starts to grow, they want more space that’s closer to the ground to raise their family. This explains why the age of mobility out of the City is around 35 years old. 

“Housing stock is the reason people leave, not price,” said Berlin. “This is the main driver of why millennials are leaving for the suburbs.”

Berlin also noted in his presentation that while the City may not provide the diversity of housing necessary to equally accommodate residents at all stages of life, the regional housing market does a pretty good job.

Do you agree with Berlin? Tweet @naiopvancouver and let us know!

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