Millennial Exodus from Vancouver over Housing Costs a “Myth:” BCREA

The 20- to 34-year-old population is growing in Metro Vancouver, not retreating, asserts strongly worded report from real estate association

April 22, 2016

Young buyers buying condo apartment

The general perception that young people of the millennial generation are fleeing Vancouver over the high cost of housing is a “myth,” according to a firmly worded report issued by the British Columbia Real Estate Association April 22.

Cameron Muir, the BCREA’s chief economist and author of the report, cited statistics that indicate the percentage of the population aged 20 to 34 continues to grow and that this cohort is the largest group in Metro Vancouver.

Muir said that in the City of Vancouver, the percentage of the population made up of millennials has grown by 9.5 per cent over the past decade, and 18 per cent across Metro Vancouver.

Muir said, “The narrative that millennials are leaving Vancouver in droves because of high housing costs is becoming increasingly commonplace. Numerous media stories [such as this one] lament their exodus and the potential economic impact, particularly in the high-tech sector. Even a local credit union produced a report speculating that millennials are disengaging from the Vancouver economy, largely the result of high housing costs.” 

He went on to say, “The narrative that there is an exodus of millennial from Vancouver is not based in fact, but rather, supposition… An examination of population estimates for the region reveals that millennials are, in fact, not retreating from Vancouver and that the population aged 20-34 years old has increased significantly.

“In addition, home ownership rates for the millennial age group were significantly higher during the most recent [2011] census than in the previous decades.”

However, the report did acknowledge the high level of home prices in the city. Muir said, “Unaffordability, or the inability to own housing, has been the key driver of the retreating millennial hypothesis.”

The report did not supply information on home ownership rates among millennials since the most recent census, taken in 2011.

To read the full BCREA report, click here.

Joannah Connolly has been editor and content manager of since May 2014. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, and has moderated and spoken on several industry panels. During this time, she also spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio 98.3FM. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 20 years of journalism experience in Vancouver and London, with a prior background in construction, architecture and business media.
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