These are my choices right now: to stay in my town, or to adopt and start a family.
Yes, burgeoning house and rental prices are forcing me to choose between adoption or the town that I have called home for over 10 years, a town that I love, a town in which I have established a great network of friends, become involved in many community groups, and learned to play drums with the local pipe band.
In the past 18 months, and especially in the past 12 months, house prices have soared well out of my affordable range. Not only purchase prices, but rental prices too.
A three bedroom townhome (of 20+ years old) has swelled from a ‘more’ reasonable $250-300k to the high $400’s or low to mid $500’s!
In 12 months.
Rental prices for the same outdated townhouses have gone from $1400-1700 per month including utilities – to $2000-2500 nothing included.
Detatched houses are so beyond reasonable they are laughable.
This has put a hold on adoption for me.
I’m currently living in a one bedroom condo, and while this was the case when I started the process nearly 3 years ago, there were many viable housing options back then. I still was aware I would need to move, and even worried about finding the “right” place, but my concern was more about actually moving than the cost of housing.
Now, however, due to the rising house prices – I have finally accepted that I will not be able to provide for a child or children in this town that I love.
Even though I currently earn $14 per hour more than the average hourly rate in BC (according to Statistics Canada Feb, 2016) – my little town is now officially out of my reach.
It took me a while to get to a place of acceptance. Although I’ve known for at least 12 months, as I watched the prices inflate, that there would come a time when I’d have to accept it.
I talked with my social worker about it recently and she agreed. Unless I have a house lined up or the ability to afford a larger living space in my town – then there is no point proceeding with adoption matching until I rectify this situation.
So with acceptance – only a few weeks ago really – came relief. I didn’t realise how much this housing crisis was weighing on my shoulders until I decided to move to a more affordable place.
A HUGE weight lifted.
And with it new problems!
- Job search. I will need to find another job. And as I mentioned I’m paid pretty well where I am, so to find another of equal ‘value’ to me may be challenging.
- Location. Where in Canada should I go? I’m open to at least five provinces… that’s a lot of ground to cover!
- Logistics. Sure, there is no need to start thinking about this yet…however, my brain has not stopped thinking about it! Moving, packing, how to transport Greyson (car or plane), and things I will need to purchase, etc. There are endless lists running through my mind.
Then I started the search for housing. Just for fun.
I started my search in one of the furthest points from where I am… Nova Scotia. In jest perhaps at first… but I was blown away! Enormous houses of more than 3,000sqft for less than $300k. Some less than $200k.
This house = $235k in Nova Scotia… (3br, 2 bath, 3200sqft, 1/3 of an acre, new kitchen, etc…)
That same $ range in my town will now only buy an 800sqft, 2br, 1 bath condo in a rundown 40 year old building that a policeman friend suggested “do not buy there”:
These are real photos taken off MLS… the choice seems simple to me!
I fell in love with so many areas in Nova Scotia, the coastal towns, the smaller city of Halifax, the picturesque villages, accompanied with the real estate prices, and the lifestyle, it all looked amazing through the eyes of Google.
Excited, I decided on the spot, “Nova Scotia is where I’m moving”.
Then, just for fun, I started looking at all of The Maritimes provinces. They all looked like good options.
Then, I expanded my search to Ontario, Alberta, and other parts of BC.
Sorry to the other two Prairie provinces… I’m a bit wimpy when it comes to the hot, hot summers!
Since starting my searches a few weeks ago, I’ve started to feel light about this decision.
After all – a town vs. a family is no decision at all.
And there is a whole country out there to explore.
Sure, I’ve established myself here, I’ve made some great friends and I believe many of those friendships will withstand the move, plus I’ve become a part of some incredible groups, and learned new things here.
The thing is, I can do that again. I’m good at starting over.
A fresh start.
I do have flashes of anger at the feeling of being “forced” out of this town that was literally a gas stop for people on their way to somewhere else when I first moved here 10 years ago… but times have changed and acceptance is all I can do. Though that anger does make me want to say that this town can “suck it”! Haha… moments of frustration do hit me, because I do love it here.
Life has other ideas.
And I’m not going to wait for the next phase of my life to start based on over-inflated real estate.
Fact: Unless I have a lottery win, or get into the already full housing co-op (I’ve been on the wait-list for 2 years now), then acceptance and getting on board with another life change are my only options.
A new adventure.
Finding a decent paying job will be my first priority and may determine where I end up. The provinces listed above are the ones I’m considering first so we’ll see which of them presents the best opportunity in the next little while.
It is a little exciting to be able to shake off the weight of worry about housing, and look to the many possible and AFFORDABLE futures! We could end up anywhere.
And I do not want to be a house-poor parent. My choice would be an amazing house that I love to come home to that still allows me to have a sense of financial freedom. I’d like to have money left over at the end of the month for vacations, and experiences that my kids and I will share, and an education fund for my kids, or a graduation car fund(!). I do not want to live month to month with little to spare because my mortgage is excessive. I would even like to pay off my mortgage in my lifetime!
My main criteria for this new adventure:
- Job – something that I will not hate, and that pays well enough that I’m not just walking away from one stressful financial situation into another.
- Housing – affordable with at least 3+ bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, preferably more than 1800sqft detached and a decent size yard.
- Four seasons! Mild summers of under 30C, and cold winters with some snow!
- Then all the other considerations… schools, community, location, proximity to a city, ease of travel, recreation, local recreation groups, etc…
Let the adventure begin.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? The town/suburb/location you love was no longer affordable and you had to seek a new life elsewhere? A choice between your home and a family? If so… please leave your comments and tips for making good decisions and finding great locations…!
Warm smiles and Love,