What roll for developers in affordability debate?

Often when it comes to real estate stories in the local media the people interviewed are developers, marketers or realtors. These are all professionals who deal with the market every day, so it makes sense for the media to seek their opinion on housing stories.

But should they be driving the ‘affordability’ debate?

Architect and professor Avi Friedman thinks not.

“Builders will not initiate innovative ideas because they are profit motivators, so the city needs to act as a catalyst,” he told CBC Radio One’s Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

Friedman also criticized the idea offered by many in the real estate industry, like marketer Bob Rennie, that Vancouver isn’t going to be affordable for everyone and that young people should consider moving to the suburbs.

“People who grew up and live in a city should be able to buy a home in their city. The fear is that, some of these young people may leave Vancouver,” Friedman said.

“Once you see the departure of young people from the city, they take along their potential … to start new businesses, to create a vibrancy that young people bring to a place.”

Friedman says it is incumbent upon the city and its leadership to foster and implement new ideas that will allow young people to stay and thrive in Vancouver.

Read the full article over at the CBC.

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Shut It Down Already

61, please explain how you know the nationality of the buyer.


Contrarian view. Will somehow agree with Garth. Leaving the foreign investments and prices out of the discussion, shows that the province, short-sighted, has become too dependent on real estate sales and construction. If this activity slows down, it will have grave consequences. Raising interest rates next year, HAM being repatriated, external shocks. That’s why standards for entrepreneurs are so lax. This will not end well.

Corrupt in Canada

@64 Damit you beat me to it!


Bull ! Bull ! Bull ! has the best track record.

I’m enrolling in mandarin classes tomorrow.


” If the government’s actions were to cause a 10-per-cent fall in house prices, roughly $60 billion in home equity would be lost, equivalent to about $85,000 per Greater Vancouver homeowner. ”

That’s paper wealth. Unless they all sell tomorrow, is a mirage. What about estimating the invisible costs ? How many industries are not created here because high RE prices. Industries that could generate more jobs than 3800 for years to come.


“Foreign investment is negligible and has no effect … but if something is changed it will be catastrophic.”

I knew Christy Clark and Rich Coleman were stupid, but the above summary of their position shows that either they are a lot dumber than I thought, or they think we are!


Foreign investment is negligible and has no effect … but if something is changed it will be catastrophic.

It is irresponsible to make any policy change without data … but let’s push for densification that hasn’t worked in the last 10 years and there’s no data that it will work.

Streamlining approval process ? Every block is a tear down or construction site.

Reduce taxes, reduce commisions .

Vancouver is affordable, 32% of the sales are below $400 K … but they are shoe boxes with one room ! Are they livable in the most livable city in the world ? Are they for families ?

Let’s create this monster HPI with a typical average house to hide the statistics … but when talking about affordability, don’t use it.


Nothing to see here. No speculation. No foreign investment. Should we trust small peanuts TurncoatTurner or BlackRock investments , the world’s largest asset manager with over $4.77 trillion in assets under management ? So are really locals buying everything ? Foreigners seem to have a better idea of what Vancouver has become than our dear leaders – poker chips ! New realtor slogan: Vancouver, shinier than gold ! http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-21/new-york-apartments-art-top-gold-as-stores-of-wealth-says-fink “Historically gold was a great instrument for storing of wealth,” the chairman of BlackRock Inc. said at a conference in Singapore on Tuesday. “Gold has lost its luster and there’s other mechanisms in which you can store wealth that are inflation-adjusted.” “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today is contemporary art….. and I don’t mean that as a joke, I mean that as a serious asset class,” said Fink. “… Read more »


I swear the price of housing is going up on a weekly f’ing basis.

HAM bought a $7.5 M home today in West Van.


Dave, what is *supposed* to happen to demand and supply when prices go up significantly? Why hasn’t that happened? We’ve been building more units than we’ve needed for a long time, why are we still short of supply? Economics 101 goes out the window during a bubble.


From the Vancouver Sun: “Premier Christy Clark has thrown cold water on Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s call for extraordinary tax measures to cool speculation in the housing market, saying they could wipe out billions of dollars in peoples’ home equity… “There is a perception that foreign investors and speculators are driving an affordability crisis in residential real estate — particularly in Greater Vancouver. The data we have does not support this perception,” the Finance Ministry analysis said. “However, industry experts estimate that foreign buyers likely make up less than five per cent of home sales activity in Greater Vancouver.” … The finance ministry report says if the government were to drastically reduce foreign investment, it would have little impact on general housing prices but would cause the loss of about $1 billion in residential real estate sales and 3,800 jobs… Read more »


@39: “What happens when you lower input costs and enable greater supply is you shift the supply curve, which lowers the equilibrium price.”

You are pretending that input costs to the RE industry are all exogenous, rather than mostly endogenous.

That is, most costs to the RE industry are actually set by the industry itself – most notably land, and also labour and materials. The reason the RE industry sets these prices is because there is no demand for them from other sectors.

That’s how the US RE industry managed to continue to produce product at 1/2 the 2006 peak price without any reduction in exogenous costs. Or – yes it’s true – the Vancouver RE industry after past busts.


Elephant in the room is not the Quebec immigration scam, but it is on the list.

My thots on Elephants is that they are taboo. What, for instance, is historically unprecedented but is rampant in society, And never-ever mentioned by the corrupt press?


New Listings 248
Price Changes 68
Sold Listings 184




Live in your automobile


yes I’m aware.

Aren’t there only (excluding Quebec) only 160 cities in Canada? and we have less than 140 of them?

So the Sun deletes all comments from there latest articles and then posts this?


The author of the article is Cameron Muir, Chief Economist at the British Columbia Real Estate Association.


Not only do we not have a foreign investment problem, but we have lower foreign owned than 140 other Canadian cities….according to Muir.


Bull! Bull! Bull!

@UBC in crisis mode

blame yourselves. you are the ones that stuck your heads in the sand for so long.

UBC in crisis mode

I don’t think we can blame the affordability problem to all levels of government, as we voted them in.



glitch Dave, happens to me the odd time.


“Aside from graft fugitive Cheng Muyang, three more suspects on China’s 100 most wanted list of corrupt officials are also hiding inVancouver, China’s consul general in the city said.” (Xinhua)

There are 18,000 missing corrupt officials from China, surely there must be many thousands (rather than a measly 4) that are living in Vancouver at the moment, compliments from our incompetent government.