You can't afford a detached house in San Fran or New York on a lawyer's salary either.
The difference though is, if you looked up how much the average lawyer in San Francisco or New York City made, it would be much higher than a lawyer in Vancouver. Especially if it was data collected from graduates at NYU or Berkeley, since UBC is also a global Tier I and probably just as difficult to get into.
San Francisco pays it's professionals more salary wise because the cost of living is so high. The only people getting paid in Vancouver are rich foreign real estate investors, or older Canadians who made their money generations ago (mining, forestry). I know you think I'm exaggerating and that this sounds ridiculous, but ask anyone who has lived in Vancouver - the industry doesn't reflect the ridiculously pricey real estate market.
Also, there's a list of Fortune 500 companies based in the Bay Area. There's not much industry in Vancouver. So, you're really shit out of luck as a lawyer in Vancouver unless you're the best in a top company. A lot of talented Engineering students for instance, opt to work in the Bay Area, because though cost of living is high, at least their salary sustains it.
(Random observation: When I was in the Bay Area visiting, there were a lot of young professionals living upper middle-class lifestyles, at nice lounges, clubs and bars. They were in their early thirties, all very educated. In Vancouver, all the people blowing big money at the nightclubs are 20 year-old East Asians that drive Maseratis, or 19 year-old Persian chicks. Most of the people in their thirties that actually work, not so much).
I'm curious, has anyone heard of an incoming student applying to be a permanent resident before schooling, thus not paying international tuition? This would make a 35-40,000 difference at UBC and UToronto.
Also, UBC is nearly a down payment on a home (~40,000) cheaper than the Ontario schools if you are a permanent resident. Something I was considering, although maybe that shouldn't be a consideration..
No, I've never heard of that happening and I know a good number of Americans that study at Canadian Universities. They all wait until graduation, because the work visa is basically automatic from what I've witnessed.
From what I was told when they raised tuition again, UBC is one of the most expensive schools in Canada, and Ontario tends to be a lot cheaper. On the other hand, if cost of living is a concern and you really like the idea of living in B.C., University of Victoria has a good law school. You could always study at UVic for 3 years, the cost of living there as a student would be a lot cheaper. Plus UVic is in the cap city, it has a good rep.
Rising salaries probably IS wishful thinking. But I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to see that a city can't sustain housing prices 11 times the average family income for long.
Income might go up, as companies need to keep their people from leaving to other cities. But housing prices aren't going to come down. Vancouver is #1 in livability and #4 in quality of life, so the demand for houses there will always be there. Plus, the city is stringent rules on who can develop more real estate, and how. Couple that with the fact that metro Vancouver is small, and there isn't that much land the government allows you to develop on, means the prices will be what you see for awhile.