British Columbia·FROM THE ARCHIVES

When $235K could buy you a home in Vancouver

For this week's edition of From the Archives, we take you back to a time when Vancouver was experiencing a different kind of housing crisis — home prices in freefall because of exorbitant interest rates.

Vancouver real estate has been through rough times in recent history

A house for $175K in Vancouver? Yup, in 1982

CBC News Vancouver at 6:00

5 years ago
2:06
Take a look at a different kind of housing crisis in Vancouver — when the economy tanked and interest rates soared. 2:06

House prices in freefall. Soaring interest rates. A housing boom gone bust. 

No, that's not a dystopian vision of a not-too-distant future  — it's a snapshot of the Lower Mainland 34 years ago. 

For this week's edition of From the Archives, we take you back to a time when Metro Vancouver was experiencing a different kind of housing crisis. 

Home prices across Canada soared in the late '70s, peaking in early 1981. 

But the booming B.C. economy quickly gave way to bad times.

Unemployment, inflation and interest rates soared across Canada over the course of a year, and the problem was said to be at its worst in Vancouver.

Many who lost their jobs could no longer afford their mortgages, which were now subject to interest rates close to 20 per cent. And they couldn't sell their homes because few could afford them, leading to bankruptcy. 

The homeowner in the video above, originally broadcast in 1982, had bought his home in Vancouver for $235,000 — the equivalent of about $591,000 today. By the following year, the value of his house had dropped 25 per cent. 

But the video also shows how some were able to take advantage of the situation. The couple in reporter Georges Tremel's story buy a three-bedroom Coquitlam home for $93,000, down from $150,000 the year before.

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