Burial plots have become such a hot commodity in Metro Vancouver, one spot in a Burnaby cemetery is being sold privately online for $54,000.
The ad posted on Craigslist indicates the plot has never been used and comes with a “double-depth lawn crypt” that can hold two caskets and two urns.
But it’s not just a lone ad. A scan of online marketplaces show multiple listings for burial plots from $5,000 to $12,000 to $25,000 to over $50,000.
Cemetery designer Bill Pechet says demand for spots is climbing in Metro Vancouver. But the region – surrounded by the sea and mountains – is running low on space, driving up the cost of what is available
“Just like housing, which this is a form of, cemeteries are experiencing the same space problems,” Pechet told CTV News.
And just like real estate, those who didn’t get in early may have to pay dearly in order to secure a spot due to a shortage of supply.
“Fundamentally, with our limited land base it’s inevitable that we’re going to be encountering these price increases,” he said.
Some plots are being flipped for a profit, just like condominiums are in the real estate market. The better the location, the better the view, the more they fetch.
Most people are cremated in Metro Vancouver. Sometimes that’s by choice, but often the high cost of a full burial makes it inevitable.
“I do not begrudge people for wanting to see their gravesites because everybody’s cost of living is going up. So why wouldn’t people try and get as much as they could?” said Pechet from his East Vancouver office.
And yet, he added, we must remember to respect the dead, and those who have contributed to society. The lack of available space requires a reconsideration of what options may be available in order to balance mounting demand and respectfully laying people to rest. In Europe, for example, they have cemetery recycling programs, where, with a family’s consent, remains are respectfully removed and placed in charnel houses or vaults.
“This is relatively new to us, and we are finally reaching that point where we have to start to be more inventive and dig a little deeper, pardon the pun,” said Pechel.