What to look for when moving as a retiree in Metro Vancouver
Some retirees believe that moving to have a fresh start is a good idea. It’s nice to have a change of scenery, possibly downsize to save on expenses, and have a chance to move closer to people and places you love. If you or your loved ones are looking to move or relocate after leaving the workforce, there are some important factors to consider. In this article, we would like to address some of these factors and give you some insight on where to move for your retirement.
Affordable housing is a challenge in the real estate market in the Metro Vancouver area. If you are going to move into a rented dwelling, it is in your best interest to find the houses with the best value. The best valued renting homes are the ones where their selling prices do not mirror the renting prices. For example, in East Vancouver, it seems that even though rent is among the lowest in the Metro Vancouver area, housing prices are usually in the mid-range. BC Housing is also a great resource to look into. They offer two different programs that you may be eligible for as a retiree: the Seniors’ Rental Housing program and the Subsidized Housing program. You may apply to these programs if you are someone older than 55 years of age with a gross household income below a designated income threshold. This Senior Rental Housing threshold is currently at $58,000 for those who are living in the Lower Mainland area. Subsidized Housing low-income thresholds are more specific to the area and the type of dwelling you will be requiring. A full list is available here.
Even with the surprising steep housing and renting prices, a report from the United Way of the Lower Mainland shows that West Vancouver comes second in having the largest composition (25.5%) of seniors and retirees in their city population. White Rock has the highest number of retirees and seniors, with as much as 29.4% of the city’s total population. As a senior citizen or a retiree, you are no longer involved with the workforce. Whether or not you enjoyed your work, the people you worked with eight hours a day maybe have been part of your social network. Now that you are out of the work force, it takes more effort to have your own social group, to have a sense of belonging, and a sense of community. Having social support is very important because it can give you a sense of self-worth and increase your sense of belonging. From the same report, it seems that seniors and retirees of those cities have the strongest sense of community and belonging in West Vancouver and White Rock. A number of factors may enable seniors to have strong sense of belonging. One factor may be the senior programs offered by White Rock and West Vancouver. If these programs are run well, seniors and retirees may be more likely to make friends and have a good social group in their community.
One strong factor in a move after retirement is who you will be living near. Moving closer to family and friends is a big attraction when it comes to moving after retirement. It is likely that throughout your adult life, you have made many lifelong friends and you have all moved around within the Metro Vancouver area. Your children may also be in another city nearby. Moving closer to a well-established network of people will allow you to enjoy your retirement much more. Services and amenities vary from city to city. Before you establish yourself and move into a neighbourhood in the Metro Vancouver area, think about the proximity, accessibility, and availability of services you will require. If you are currently in a routine of going swimming at the local pool every morning, you should look into the accessibility of a nearby pool. Also look into various healthcare services in your area, like doctor’s offices, hospitals, and physical therapy clinics. In your early retirement years, you may be active and healthy, but do not assume that you will be this way forever as you age. Though it is not good to worry excessively about aging, it is wise to consider what your life will be like in the years ahead. Moving into a town with access to senior services, community centers, and even good restaurants may be important to you. The type of dwelling you decide to move into can also affect your lifestyle. Whether it is a condominium, a single family house, or a townhouse, each brings a different set of challenges and convenience. For example, a condo can bring noisy neighbours or strict strata bylaws with it, whereas a single family house will have less of these issues, but will require more yard and structure maintenance. Considering all possibilities will help with making the best choice for your move into retirement.