There's been a lot of handwringing recently as many 30-somethings and 40somethings try to squeeze themselves into an ever-more expensive housing market.
The housing market in Metro Vancouver - which includes Burnaby - may not have "corrected" itself and, indeed, may never correct itself and younger
folks may feel they will never own a single-family residence like their parents did.
Yes, there are townhomes in Chilliwack that are still affordable, but it's a long commute into the Metro zone, and that just doesn't fit the dream scenario.
But if young folks find that scenario depressing, consider this: if you manage to live long enough to be considered a senior, there might not even be enough social housing for you.
According to a just-released report from the United Way and the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia the number of seniors and people with disabilities waiting to get into social housing in Metro Vancouver has jumped by nearly 50 per cent in three years.
There are now 4,549 households on the social housing waiting lists in Metro Vancouver. Both Surrey and Burnaby had nearly 500 on the waiting list, while New Westminster and North Vancouver had more than 200 on the list.
Finding affordable housing as a senior on a fixed income is like winning a lottery. Many seniors are only pulling in $1,200 per month on government pensions. Even if one is lucky enough to find a rental suite for $800 a month that doesn't leave much for food, clothing, medicine etc. The report said, not surprisingly, that the highest average rents are charged in West Vancouver, at $1,247, and Vancouver, at $1,067. The lowest is Maple Ridge, at $709.
So what will the world of housing look like when the current 30 and 40somethings have finally paid off their Chilliwack townhomes and hope to sell them and retire in Salmon Arm? Will they be able to afford to rent a basement suite in Salmon Arm? Will grandchildren sit at their feet and listen to tales, of "when I was your age, we had to commute two hours just so your dad could have his own bedroom." Or will there, by that time, be attractive affordable multi-generational and multi-income level communities thriving in the Lower Mainland? Where people share courtyards and community gardens and media rooms and where no one has to go without food to have a roof over their head?
We're rooting for the latter - but, alas we suspect someone will be writing an editorial similar to this one in some virtual future iPaper instead.