Most young Vancouverites would rather leave the province than live elsewhere in B.C.

A view of the City of Burnaby as seen from Burnaby Mountain. Young residents across the Lower Mainland say they would prefer to leave the province altogether if they can't live in the region | Shutterstock

For Vancouver-area residents under 35, the only place in British Columbia in which they want to live is the Lower Mainland, and most would rather move to another province than live in another part of B.C.

According to survey conducted by Insights West for real estate adviser firm Resonance Consultancy, 87% of those asked where they would choose to live if money were no object would choose to stay in the region. Moving outside of British Columbia came in a distant second at 14%, followed by 11% who said they would like to move to the Kelowna and Thompson Okanagan region.

For young residents across the province, 68% said they would choose to live in Greater Vancouver, and 18% said their top choice was in Victoria and other parts of southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. This was followed by Kelowna and Thompson Okanagan at 15%.

Seventy per cent of those surveyed across B.C. said they are likely to move in the next five years, with 76% saying they will be moving within their current regions. As well, 19% say they will likely move to Greater Vancouver, and 38% say they plan to leave the province.

“There is a tremendous challenge ahead for policy-makers and politicians to make Greater Vancouver affordable and welcoming for Millennials who clearly want to live and work in the region,” said Chris Fair, president of Resonance Consultancy, for which Insights West conducted the study.

In order to keep young talent in the province, the government must prioritize the needs of young residents, Fair said.

“Failure to do so, as their sentiment indicates, likely means losing many of them for good.”

This is consistent with a study Insights West released earlier this month that found more than a third of homeowners in Metro Vancouver plan to move outside the area in the next five years.

“The next generation of city builders and business leaders is telling us they want to stay in Greater Vancouver,” Fair said.

“It’s on us to make it happen.”