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Vancouver needs more Amazons and Microsofts to improve affordability, experts argue

By JENNY PENG for Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER—New data published this month crowning Vancouver as the North American city with the biggest gap between home prices and incomes highlights the city’s lack of corporate heavyweights that would drive up residents’ earnings.

Andy Yan, an urban planner and director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, crunched the numbers for 117 North American metropolitan areas using 2016 census data in an attempt to get to the root of Vancouver’s unaffordability problem.

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He found that Vancouver ranked 50th in terms of annual median income at $73,000 while having the third-most expensive housing — with median prices at $800,000.

“Some people say that those who live in Vancouver have an inherent discount to their labour to live in paradise,” Yan said. “As such, the labour force here just accepts being paid less, accepts that as part of the trade-off to living in Vancouver as opposed to, say, Calgary or Ottawa.”

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