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Dirt in Vancouver is Literally Earning More Money Than All of the City’s Workers Combined

This is absurd.
Manisha Krishnan
Toronto, CA
June 2, 2016, 7:30pm

This yard is probably one of Vancouver's highest earners. Photo via Flickr user SKXE.

There are few surprises left when it comes to Vancouver's absurdly unaffordable real estate market.

However, by crunching some numbers, one researcher has revealed yet another sad reality for locals to digest: in Vancouver, homes, and more precisely, the earth on which they stand, earn more money in a year than the city's entire working population makes through their jobs.

In a blog post titled "Work vs Twiddling Thumbs," data analyst Jens von Bergmann looked at census data showing that, after tax, Vancouverites earn a cumulative $17.8 billion in income. He then shifted his gaze to land value increases of single family homes in Vancouver from 2015-2016 and found "the typical [single family home] household made $262,000 last year by twiddling thumbs."


When von Bergmann did the math for the city's 78,740 single family homes, he discovered the total land value increase was $24 billion—$6 billion more than the city's workers took home.

To be clear, this means that dirt in Vancouver is earning billions more per year than gainfully employed human beings.

Von Bergmann also compared hourly rates for how much a Vancouverite with a job would earn versus how much a house would earn; based on a 40 hour work week, he said the average person would take home $26 an hour while a home would collect $126 an hour.

Though, given this is a place where it takes 109 percent of a person's disposable income to buy a home, these numbers might not be all that shocking.

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