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Relocating to Vancouver: A Guide to Vancouver's Economy & Real Estate Market

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By : Mike Andruff    99 or more times read
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 six years running, and in 2008 was voted one of the best places to live by Mercer Consulting in their "Quality of Living Survey 2008."

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

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 many years to come.

Vancouver has a strong and varied economy that has proven to be resilient in tough 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.

Port Metro Vancouver is the nation's largest port, and trades more than $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 nearly 130,000). In addition, the port also welcomes more than 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 into Vancouver's economy.

Cruise ships are just 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 easy 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 so many visitors traveling to Vancouver, the tourism and hospitality industry continues to be one of the area's largest employment sectors.

Vancouver has also become a well-known destination for Hollywood film and television productions. 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 and New York in terms of film production, which makes this a great place to live if you're employed in the creative arts.

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

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

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

In terms of housing, the Vancouver real estate market continues to be strong despite a slump in many other markets around North America.

Vancouver is home to some of the most expensive housing in Canada, though prices have been dropping in recent months. While the struggling international economy does play a role in the slowing down of Vancouver's housing market, property values are dropping more as a result of an inevitable price 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.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the price of detached homes increased by almost 70% between 2003 and 2008, while condo prices increased by approximately 82%. Over the past several months, real estate prices have decreased by about 12%. Properties are still holding onto much of their value, which is good news for sellers, yet the market is becoming more affordable, which is great news for buyers.

To learn about the unique lifestyle that Vancouver can provide, check out the continuation of this article: "Relocating to Vancouver: Fresh Urban Living".
Mike Andruff leads one of the topfirms in the Vancouver real estate industry. To find Vancouver's West End properties, be sure to visit Mike and his team at

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