Sitting on my couch by the window I look out over an intemperate afternoon in Vancouver. Clearly one of those days you’d want to curl up with a mocha, a book or the security blanket of television. I choose to power up my PVR to a favourite show: House Hunters International (HHI) on the HGTV.
HHI is, for me, an escape of an escape. I mean not only the diversion of television, but also the wonderful flight to foreign lands, as expats of many countries forsake the safety of their homelands to live in an exotic local. Whether that local is the uber-exotic Bora Bora or it’s polar opposite Poland.
Imagine: the company you work for want you to move to Marrakech in Morocco. From a small town in the states too! What a culture shock that would be! What I really like is that yes, there are often people with piles of money to spend, searching for that 5,000 square foot mansion overlooking a marina of sailboats. There are also those who have a more realistic budget looking for a small place in a time-share to spend their yearly two-week vacation.
But to my point of what depresses me about the show. We were watching a show about wife, husband and their three kids moving from the afore-mentioned small town to Marrakech in Morocco. Yes, there was a significant budget and could afford to live in the more fashionable districts of the old city. They viewed three of the traditional Moroccan Riads that averaged in asking price of $600,000 euros. Two were very updated and modern and the one was old, built in the 12th century and crumbling, but a remodeler’s dream.
Yet for in this episode they did something different. They always have three choices for the buyer. This time, they had four. The fourth choice was to buy land outside the city and build a new riad. In the end, this was their choice. As always at the end of the show, they return a few months later, in this case 14 months later. My eyes were as big as saucers to see a brand-new, five-room, four bath house in the riad style of a central (and huge) courtyard and multiple sitting rooms and pool!
What got me depressed was that they built this enchanting riad on a large plot of land, with an olive grove too! For under $600,000!
Yeah, $600,000! We live in a one bedroom downtown apartment of 738 square feet and it is selling at $535,000!
I’ll preface the next notion with: I love Vancouver. I feel it is one of, if not the most beautiful city in the world. However, the above, singular fact about the cost of living and the cost of buying in Vancouver is really convincing me that when I am able to afford to buy in the Vancouver area, I won’t. I know by then it will be time to retire to either a warmer climate or the parisian countryside.
Not to mention a particular show about a couple who bought a huge, two HOUSE property for under $400,000 euros… *sigh*