Moving to Vancouver: all about Vancouver’s Economy and Real Estate Market

Vancouver, BC has been named several times over as the “Best City in the Americas” by Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards. The city also ranked #1 on The Economist’s survey of the “World’s Most Livable Cities” for five years consecutively, and in 2008 was voted one of the best places to live by Mercer Consulting in their “Quality of Living Survey 2008.”

 For both personal home buyers and real estate investors, an area’s economy plays a critical role in the decision to buy. They’re looking for an area that can provide a solid base for plenty of years to come.

 Clearly, Vancouver is a special city. It offers residents breathtaking views of the mountains, inviting beaches, and ample green space. Vancouver has become a premier location for real estate buyers from around the globe.

 Port Metro Vancouver is the nation’s largest port, and trades over $75 billion in goods with international partners each year. Such a vibrant trade operation has led to thousands of jobs being created (the number of port-related jobs that have been created across Canada is estimated to be almost 130,000). In addition, the port also welcomes over half a million visitors each year who are embarking on cruises to Alaska. These visitors spend their dollars at local shops and eateries, and pour a great deal of money in to Vancouver’s economy.

 Vancouver has a powerful and varied economy that has proven to be resilient in hard times, leaving residents feeling secure today, and hopeful for the future. From major Hollywood film productions to international trade, Vancouver offers its residents employment prospects in every sector.

 Vancouver has also become a widely known location for Hollywood film and TV productions. This actually isn’t something new. In fact, celebrities have frequented Vancouver since the days when Gary Cooper caught a ride back to the Fairmont Hotel on a street-cleaning machine as it was passing by.  The city is lauded for its chameleon-like ability to resemble other locales. “Hollywood North” as the city is known, is right behind Los Angeles in terms of film production, which makes this a great place to live if you’re employed in the creative arts.

Cruise ships are one way that visitors come to the Greater Vancouver area. With the distinguished Vancouver International Airport located about an hour’s drive from downtown, tourists from every part of the globe find it simple to get to and from the city. There’s also highway access to/from other parts of the province, as well as border crossings to the United States. With such a large amount of visitors travelling to Vancouver, the tourism and hospitality industry continues to be one of the area’s largest employment sectors.

 In addition to the city’s excellent economic health, Vancouver is also known for its profusion of educational opportunities. Two of the country’s top universities, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia are located in Vancouver. Plenty of smaller colleges are also located in the area, as well as the Vancouver Film School and the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

 High tech firms love Vancouver because of the availability of highly professional graduates and the city’s overall livability. Construction also continues to employ a giant number of people, thanks to the steady demand for commercial and residential space in the metro area.

 In terms of housing, the Vancouver real estate market continues to be strong despite an overall slump in housing markets in North America.

 For students, there are 18 secondary schools, over 70 elementary schools, and several private schools in the region.

 According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the cost of detached homes increased by nearly 70% between 2003 and 2008, while condo prices increased by about 82%. Over the past several months, real estate prices have decreased by about 12% so the market is becoming more affordable, which is great news for buyers.

 However, while the struggling international economy does play a role in the slowing down of Vancouver’s housing market, property values dropped only because of an inevitable cost correction. Housing prices had been increasing at an incredible pace for several years, making real estate in Vancouver inaccessible to a large number of people but now that the correction is taking place it is good to have another look.