Column: Dream of home ownership now ‘beyond Hope’ for many

For most people who are just starting out, purchasing a home that costs upward of $800,000 is no more within the realm of possibility than it is once the price tag has topped the seven figure mark.

But seeing the average cost of a detached house in Langley Township actually surpass $1 million (as it has this year) only serves to drive the point home — for many young families, the dream of owning a house is all but dead.

Barring some sort of windfall, the average working couple — never mind singleton — will never scrape together the down payment for a house, forget servicing a mortgage, taxes and upkeep.

It’s a sad reality brought on by a range of circumstances that I won’t go into here.

I’m happy to have bought something in Langley a decade ago, while it was still somewhat manageable.

Though, for me, there was never the possibility of buying of a full-sized detached home. And thankfully, it was never high on my own list of wants in life.

Having a strata to handle the big stuff — from the condition of the roof down to plugged sewer lines — while I worry about my own little corner of the world, is, for me, ideal.

But for a growing family, condo or townhouse living is hardly on par with a house that offers room for children to play — both indoors and out.

The solution for most is to scale back their expectations and make do with less space, as families closer to Vancouver have been doing for years.

For me, though, it begs the question — why do so many stay? I don’t understand young people’s unwillingness to leave the Lower Mainland.

At some point, job or family commitments will keep them here. But the number of young people who, having grown up here, simply refuse to consider living anywhere else, is honestly bewildering to me.

It’s beautiful here, no question. With ocean and mountain peaks situated minutes apart, all the excitement of big city living, offset by close proximity to a rural or island getaway, Lower Mainland residents truly have the best of all worlds.

Which is why it costs the Earth to live here.

Truthfully, though,every region of B.C. is spectacular in its own way. I say this from experience, having lived in the far north, as well as on the remote northern tip of Vancouver Island as well as in Victoria and the Lower Mainland , Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Everywhere I lived, I found things to love about my adopted hometown.

It might have been the spectacular natural surroundings, the opportunities to camp or ski without having to constantly stand in line and fight huge crowds, or just — and, yes, I realize this is terribly cliché — the people.

Granted, I eventually ended up back here, so I understand the appeal.

There was a time when you could leave the Lower Mainland to get established, with the plan that you would one day return and settle down.

That doesn’t seem likely to be an option too much longer — if it still is.

In the end, it’s a choice we all have to make for ourselves. — scale back our dreams of home ownership or embrace the notion of living ‘beyond Hope.’

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