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‘Priced itself out of the retirement market’: Realtors weigh in on changing age of Vancouver Island residents

Source: CTV News Vancouver Island
Brendan Strain, CTV News Vancouver Island Journalist, Published April 19, 2022 5:09 p.m. PDT

Vancouver Island has long been known as a place where people come to retire, but a new report shows that is no longer the case. The island’s immigration is now being fuelled by young, working families.

Jlo Magneto and his young family recently moved to Langford from just outside of Toronto. According to a new report from the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, the young family fits perfectly into the changing demographics of the island’s newcomers.

“I lived here back in my college days and I loved it out here,” said Magneto. “I always wanted to come back so when I saw an opportunity to come, I definitely pursued it.”

Megneto is in the Canadian Armed Forces and his wife is a nurse. The jump was expensive, but manageable.

The economic alliance report found that between 2014 and 2021, 89,000 people moved to Vancouver Island.

Some 46,400 of those people came here from other parts of the province, while 37,200 came from other parts of the country.

“Well there’s been a lot of non-retirees moving here,” said Tony Joe, broker and owner of Re/Max Properties.

Jlo Magneto is pictured walking with his dog in Langford B.C. (CTV News)

The report also found that the percentage of people over the age of 50 coming to the island declined from 59 per cent of all migrants to 35 per cent.

“Victoria has really priced itself out of the retirement market,” said Joe.


Joe says, with the average price for a single family detached home now selling for $1.48-million in the Capital Region, young working people are the only ones that can now afford to move here.

“Victoria is too expensive now,” said Joe. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re seeing a lot more activity in the Cowichan Valley, in the Comox Valley.”

The Capital Region saw the most growth with 45,800 newcomers. Nanaimo came in second place with 18,800, followed but the Comox Valley and the Cowichan Valley.

“What we’re really looking at is a demand problem,” said Charlie DePape, realtor with Royal LePage Realty.

“The demand is huge and supply is a little thin, that’s keeping prices high.”

Low inventory in more popular areas of the island means prices for housing are going up everywhere.

Nanaimo recently conducted its own study finding 25 to 44-year-olds are expected to be the fastest growing age group over the next decade. The cohort will overtake seniors, who have historically held that spot.

“Coming from North Vancouver, that was the reason we moved over in the first place is because we could afford to buy something,” said one woman in Nanaimo who just moved to the island from the mainland.

With a strong economy and a good infrastructure that allows for remote work, many more families could be looking to relocate to the island.

But, with housing being in short supply and prices so high, the young newcomers may have to push back their own retirement just to stay here. 

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