Archive for the ‘hype’ Category

Mayor: city is at a ‘breaking point’

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

When it comes to housing affordability Mayor Robertson says that Vancouver is at a breaking point:

 “The conditions and the context keep getting tougher and tougher in Vancouver as the city gets more and more expensive and more desirable to people all over the world to invest in and move into. We’re basically at a breaking point where we need interventions in the market to ensure that people who live and work and grow up here in Vancouver have the opportunity to stay in the city and to keep being part of it and contributing.”

You may recall the Mayor wrote a letter to the BC Premier supporting the idea of speculation tax. The response from the Premier was based around the fact that such a tax would risk driving down house prices.

The Mayor responds to that idea in this interview at the Tyee:

“I think it’s completely wrong. It’s a totally different subject. What we’re talking about is taking some of the profit out of flipping and speculation, which doesn’t have to do necessarily with foreign ownership or homeownership or the value of homes. This is a business activity that’s taking place every day here in Vancouver where there’s a lot of profit, and it’s an option to transfer some of that profit so people can afford to live in the city. They went off on a completely different tangent in their response at the provincial level, and that’s unfortunate. The premier has said that affordable housing in Vancouver is a problem. Well, we need some action to deal with that.”

Protect the housing bubble!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

It seem natural that most readers of this site would appreciate an MLA standing up for more data on real estate transactions in BC.

It came after Weaver had introduced a private member’s bill to amend the Land Title Act. If it is approved by a majority of MLAs, it would enable the B.C. government to determine foreign-investment flows in the real-estate market, as well as the extent of corporate buying of property.

Unfortunately in a province where everything seems to revolve around real estate and sensitivities around that topic what you end up with is wishy-washy comments that are nonsensical.

Southseacompany points out that Green MLA Andrew Weaver has asked the finance minister what is being done to prevent a Vancouver housing bubble from bursting.  Unfortunately there appears to be some logical inconsistencies in the MLAs statements:

I especially can’t figure that first sentence on Weaver’s blog;

“Today in the legislature I rose to question the Minister of Finance as to what steps, if any, government is taking to ensure that Metro Vancouver’s potential housing bubble doesn’t burst and that housing remains affordable in the region.”

Remains affordable? And that if this bubble burst and prices fell, then… it won’t be affordable??

This man’s nonsense is a waste of time.

 

Investigative Journalism is alive and well

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Channel 4 in London has done an experiment on estate agent reactions to potential buyers using obviously ill-gotten gains. The results were predictable:

In a documentary called From Russia With Cash, to be broadcast on Wednesday, two undercover reporters pose as an unscrupulous Russian government official called “Boris” and his mistress “Nastya” whom he wants to purchase an upmarket property in London for.

The couple – Russian anti-corruption campaigner Roman Borisovich and Ukrainian investigative reporter Natalia Sedletska – view five properties ranging in price from £3m to £15m, on the market with five different west London agents, in Kensington, Chelsea and Notting Hill.

Despite being made aware they are dealing with ill-gotten gains, the estate agents agree to continue with a potential purchase. In several instances the estate agents recommend law firms to help a buyer hide his identity.

One estate agent names a “very, very good lawyer … the last person I put them was another minister of a previous Soviet state” in a deal worth £10m.

The estate agents suggest that in the capital secretive purchases of multimillion pound houses are common. One claims that 80% or more of his transactions are with international, overseas-based buyers and “50 or 60%” of them are conducted in “various stages of anonymity … whether it be through a company or an offshore trust”.

Read the full article here.

Locals only

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

A local developer has figured out a good way to get attention on an 18 million luxury penthouse that has remained unsold since 2012: say its for locals only.

Call it exclusionary, or tapping into the zeitgeist, or just a clever promotional scheme. Langereis says he wants a purchaser who will “commit” to this space and the city, and who will actually live here. If not year-round, then at least most of the time.

He wants to look up from street-level and see the lights on. “I want someone fun, someone who will connect with the rest of residents,” says Langereis. “Not someone who treats this place like some hidden chamber and then leaves.”

Read the full article here.

Ontario cracking down on phantom bids

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Most real estate professionals are honest and unless there is a signed offer in place would never use the threat of a competing offer in an effort to drive up a property sales price.

But just to make sure a few bad apples don’t spoil the bunch Ontario plans to crack down on phantom bids.

The scam involves a sales agent hinting to prospective buyers there are other bids as a way to coax them to bid higher.“You say, ‘We’re expecting another offer. I do have another offer. You may want to go back to your client and make sure this is their best offer’,” says said Joseph Richer, registrar of RECO. “You are suggesting there might be competing offers when there may or may not be.”

With the new rules, “You cannot suggest or even imply that you have an offer unless you have one in writing, signed sealed and ready to be delivered,” said Richer, while adding there have been very few formal complaints about phantom bidding over the years.

Read the full article here.

Mayor backs real estate speculation tax

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robinson has come out in support of a speculation tax on real estate purchases.

We definitely need taxation tools that discourage speculation on real estate,” a statement from Robertson says. “It’s clear that rampant speculation on real estate is driving up prices in Vancouver. Vancouver needs the B.C. Government to take action on creating a speculation tax and recognize that we need a fair and level playing field to make housing more affordable for residents in Vancouver, and throughout the province.

Read the full article here.

Bob Rennie urges Vancouverites to give up

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

The owner of a condo marketing company in Vancouver is urging young families to give up on the dream of a single family home and embrace density.

According to Rennie, whose company was involved in high-profile projects like Vancouver’s Olympic Village and the redevelopment of the historic Woodward’s building, planners need to create a lot of density at once in order to drive down prices.

“I know nobody wants to hear that, but unless we’re going to take a big broad brush stroke and add a lot of density, we’re in trouble,” he said.

Read the original article over at the CBC.

Housing costs in bc ‘pretty reasonable’

Monday, May 18th, 2015

The BC Housing Minister has clarified whether or not his ministry or the government will collect data on real estate buyers:

“I don’t believe we should be in the market place,” Coleman said, referring to his ministry, “and we have not had any request to go and do this work … There is no initiative at this time in government to go and interfere in the market place in regards to housing.”

The collecting of any data is not necessary because housing cost are actually pretty reasonable when you look at it right:

“I believe that the market place adjusts. If you notice over the years, it has fluctuations up and fluctuations down. If you look at the mean cost of housing across British Columbia and you compare it to other major cities worldwide, the reason it is attractive internationally is because it’s actually pretty reasonable compared to other cities like London, Singapore, Tokyo,” Coleman answered.

It’s actually a VERY favourable comparison. Initially we thought he was asking us to compare Vancouver housing prices to London house prices, but then we realized he was actually asking us to compare the mean cost of housing across the province of BC to a city like London.

Other than the differences those two things are very much alike.

Read the full article over at VanCity Buzz.

Restrict foreign buyers of Vancouver real estate?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Yesterday we posted about the record debt levels of Canadians – most of that growth happening in mortgage and line of credit debt.

Some people think low interest rates and CMHC backed mortgage debt is to blame for high house prices, while others blame foreign buyers in cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

Would you support restricting foreign ownership of property the same way they do in countries like Mexico, China and Australia?

Some people certainly would. This petition on change.org has grown by more than 10,000 signatures in the last few days and is currently at the top of todays active list on that site.

Here’s the link to the petition if you support this idea – how many signatures do you think it would take to get politicians to support limitations on foreign buyers and how would they convince home sellers that this is a good idea?

Angry tweets won’t bring prices down.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Well! They could have told us this earlier and saved us a lot of time… Turns out desperate tweets won’t solve our housing cost problems.

Sociologist Nathan Lauster calls the current clash the “intergenerational drama of urban house ownership as a life goal.”

“It produces this sensation for a lot of people like you’re trying to make a home on quicksand,” says Lauster, who is part of UBC’s urban studies department.

“So you’re trying to do everything that you think is right, everything that your parents have done, and it’s still not going to be enough.”

But home ownership hasn’t always been the ultimate goal for a family. In Germany, for instance, renting is the norm.

And in Vancouver, in recent years, it seems people don’t just want a home, they want a perfect home, tearing down old stock to build new mansions, ripping rather than renovating.

“There are a lot of different ways to live. But a lot of policy and a lot of our intergenerational culture has encouraged only one way, and that’s the single family house,” says Lauster.

‘Dr. Zen’ in the comments section of that article has one possible fix:

Solution… leave Vancouver. You will not regret it.

Read the full article here.

 

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