British Columbia

Does owning a home make you feel more Canadian?

In a region where you’re as likely to find a million dollar teardown home on a street corner as a Starbucks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Metro Vancouverites are worried about home ownership.

New study finds Metro Vancouverites worry about home ownership more than the rest of the country

Home ownership is top of mind for people in Metro Vancouver according to a new study on Canadian identity by Angus Reid in collaboration with the CBC. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

In a region where you're as likely to find a million dollar teardown home on a street corner as a Starbucks, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Metro Vancouverites are worried about home ownership.

Lower mainlanders identify owning a home as a core Canadian value in the Angus Reid Institute's new study What Makes Us Canadian? A study of values, beliefs, priorities and identity.

The trouble is, even though the market appears to be cooling, buying a place is still really, really expensive.

Many feel it's only possible if they move somewhere far, far away.

"Eight-in-ten residents of the country's most-expensive real estate market say owning a home is either very or fairly important to them," it said in the report.

"Yet, among those in the region who don't currently own their homes, two-thirds (64 per cent) say it's "not very" or "not at all" likely that they will own one in the future."

Ask a lumberjack

Metro Vancouver lumberjacks Stirling Hart (left) and Nick Hall (right) are considering moving to a place where the cost of living is a little cheaper. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

If you're looking for an authority on Canadian values, look no further than Stirling Hart.

As a lumberjack, who has a lumberjack father and grandfather, the 27-year-old is as Canadian as it gets.

Hart believes owning a piece of Canada connects you to Canada.

"Once you actually get into the housing market and get a little piece of land that is actually yours, you actually feel like you are invested in the country," he said.

"I think because you're actually in that pool with everybody, you get more involved and keep an eye on what Canadians are doing and which way our country is headed. I think that's an important thing for Canadians."

Where you hang your tuque

Still Hart does not think that he has to live near his hometown of Maple Ridge to feel Canadian.

"I'm thinking about shifting to Vancouver Island because the distance my money will travel over there is much greater than it will in Vancouver," he said.

"As lumberjacks, we want a little piece of land where we can relax and go home and we need to be around trees. It's really important to be in touch with nature."

Nick Hall, a fellow lumberjack who works with Hart on Grouse Mountain, is considering moving to a city where he can get a little more bang for his buck as well.

"My girlfriend and I hope to buy a place in a year or so but it's hard because prices keep going up," he said.

"We won't be able to do it in Vancouver or North Vancouver so we're hoping to find somewhere that is affordable where we can still commute to work."

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