Couple moving out of Vancouver say it’s too expensive

A couple living in Kitsilano says they’re packing up and moving to Chilliwack, because Vancouver has become too expensive. On Wednesday, the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation once again dubbed Vancouver the most expensive city in the country to rent.

A couple in Vancouver say they’re packing up and moving out of the city because it’s unaffordable to live there any longer.

Sarah Stevenson, 61, says she and her husband make good money — about a couple hundred thousand dollars a year — but adds it’s no longer viable for them as they, like so many people, struggle with the ongoing cost of living crisis.

“We should have been fine, putting a lot of money away in savings, saving up to buy a house, but unfortunately, it just seemed like every time we started to just about get ahead and say, ‘Hey, we can save an additional $300 or $400 this month,’ something would happen. Groceries went up.”

The rent on the 750 sq. ft. Kitsilano apartment she shares with her 45-year-old husband is more than $3,200 a month, including water, she tells CityNews.

“The rent is just stupid, what we pay. And I don’t know, personally, how any single person can be surviving in Vancouver, let alone a couple or even two people who are desperate, who are saying, ‘Let’s live together, so we can survive.'”

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Stevenson says that overall inflation is the problem, adding the high cost of gas is also a factor.

“Every year you expect to get a little bit of a raise from your company … my husband still makes enough money where we should be able to survive in a 750 sq. ft. apartment.”

Next month, the pair is moving into their new home in Chilliwack. “We found a place — half the cost and 300 sq. ft. more.”

But as a result of the move, she’s had to quit her job. “My husband can work from home, but that means I have to leave my job, which really makes me angry, but our hands are tied.”

Stevenson admits the last few years have been challenging which has led to added stress. The COVID-19 pandemic for one, she also battled cancer, lost her mother, and her father is currently hospitalized.

“Everybody has something happen that knocks them down or knocks them back, but we shouldn’t have been knocked back so hard with the money that my husband makes.

“Everyone has to incur expenses for major things, we get that, but we can’t even save up money to handle these major things that come our way. We don’t have a lot of bills. We have one credit card. We have a car. Rent, hydro, that’s it. It’s not like we’ve got 15 credit cards or anything.”

She’s frustrated.

“How is this happening? How does a city allow this level of people to be so affected that we have to leave? Where’s the sense in all this? I just don’t understand.”

Stevenson isn’t sure what the solution is but knows that blaming the government is not the only fix.

“Somehow, we’ve got to get everyone — private landlords, landlords — everyone needs to get together and work together on a solution. Everyone’s pricing themselves way out where people are not going to be able to rent these places. So, eventually, these landlords are going to lose out.”

Stevenson and her husband’s experience is echoed by a recent report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation which found Vancouver tops the country when it comes to the most expensive rent.

Back in December, numbers from Statistics Canada’s population data showed another big quarterly interprovincial shift in B.C.’s population, with nearly 13,000 people migrating to other provinces or territories from July through September of 2023. Of those, 9,589 went to Alberta.

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