Well, today the inevitable happened. After living two blocks from the beach in an adorable cottage for the past five years, I got the dreaded email. My landlord made the decision it was time to sell.
I knew it would happen eventually. The housing market has exploded and the sweet beach cottages of White Rock are quickly being demolished and turned into multi-million-dollar homes.
Progress? I don’t know about that, but my heart is broken – not because I’m losing my home but because I’m leaving a place that quickly became “home.” My neighbourhood is wonderful. I live in a place surrounded by million-dollar houses and dilapidated cottages that have not aged well and just aren’t worth fixing up anymore.
I’m sad because I know all my neighbours and their children, and everyone looks out for each other. We all say hello to each other and every so often, we gather on the street for a chat.
This area is booming. I see more and more homes being replaced and new people move in. And they’re all wonderful. There’s no “oh you’re just a renter” feeling. We all have a common respect.
I know I have to move on and try to settle in again, and that’s OK. I really don’t mind that part. I love meeting new people. I think what scares me the most about the news is that I started my search online for another place to rent and realized that during my five years in my bubble of reasonable rent, prices for rentals have skyrocketed so high.
I felt this instant fear in my gut – $2,400 a month, $3,400 a month no pets…. The prices are so high now that for the first time ever, fear overtook me and I sit here wondering what am I going to do.
I’m a great tenant. I pay my rent on time and I look after the house and the yard, and I care. I have dogs that my neighbours love. I have a landlord who had faith in me. I’m one of those great tenants who’s a “responsible dog owner.”
But, now, I have to not only wonder who will allow me and my dogs to rent their treasured investment, I now have to worry about affording a place to call home. I’m scared. Terrified actually. I can’t afford $2,400 a month. I can’t afford $1,800 a month. But that’s what rentals are going for now.
Owners’ mortgages are so high they have to charge higher rents in order to pay for their house.
I’m a professional single with a great-paying permanent job. No, I can’t afford to buy a house. I rent. And I’m perfectly OK with that. But in the Lower Mainland, especially with the prices I witnessed, my future here is in peril.
Will I leave B.C. if I don’t find a home? Yes. I’ve lived here for almost 30 years and never did I ever think I would leave. But I may not have a choice.
My heart goes out to the thousands of people who are now in my situation of having to try to find “home.” I found it five years ago, but now it’s time to go and find it elsewhere.
I love this city. It’s a piece of paradise here and it’s been a privilege living here. I’ll miss the ocean most of all.
Cara Bissonnette, White Rock