Archive for the ‘opinion’ Category

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.

BC Premier has a message for first time buyers

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

A recent petition seems to have gotten enough attention to get the Premier to comment on the issue of limits to foreign buyers of BC real estate.  This article say’s she’s sitting on the fence, but her quote seems to pretty clearly have a message for struggling first time buyers in BC:

“By trying to move foreign buyers out of the market, housing prices overall will drop. That’s good for first time home buyers, but not for anybody who’s depending on the equity in their home to maybe get a loan or use that to finance some other projects.”

Which category do you think holds about 70% of the voting population?

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.

 

Hey Vancouver! Why so unhappy?

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Imagine this:

There’s a city in Canada that has a temperate climate – it’s not frozen half the year. It’s widely acknowledged as a beautiful place with access to nature and people are willing to pay some of the highest prices in the world just to buy a bit of real estate there.

And yet the citizens are some of the most unhappy in the country?

What gives you bunch of ungrateful louts?

According to Statistics Canada the entire province of BC is filled with a bunch of unhappy people. Not a single city in BC even cracks the top ten happiest places in Canada.

And our fair city of Vancouver? Well 33rd place isn’t really that bad is it?

Stop crying and move to Quebec already if you’re so miserable!

 

Let the grandkids solve the TFSA problem.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

If you’re someone who has your money somewhere other than Vancouver real estate you’re probably familiar with the TFSA.  And you probably know the limit has just been doubled to $10k a year.

Critics say this move only helps the wealthy and creates a future tax problem.

Joe Oliver says we should leave that problem for the PMs grand-daughter to solve.

On Tuesday’s The Exchange with Amanda Lang on CBC News Network, the finance minister told Lang that criticism of his recently unveiled budget is unfounded, arguing that the benefits for Canadians today more than offset any future revenue problems associated with it that may or may not ever come to pass.

The doubling of the TFSA limit to $10,000 per taxpayer every year was a core plank of Oliver’s balanced budget. But critics including the opposition parties and private sector economists have said the populist move will create a revenue problem for governments down the line, as more and more investments get protected from taxation.

So what do you think about the TFSA limit increase? A tool only for the wealthy or a bit of extra help for savers?

Hot American Money?

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

If you’re looking for someone to blame for high house prices (anyone but locals!) you’ve got a new scapegoat: Americans.

The Province has an article saying the falling CAD means that US buyers are responsible for the biggest surge in the local market over the last year.

Asian buyers make up about 60 per cent of foreign buyers of Metro Vancouver real estate, according to a story published by the Financial Times on Good Friday.

But buyers from the U.S. accounted for the biggest surge in the Vancouver market in the past year, the story said.

The article also said the Vancouver market is unique because record prices seem to have little impact on buyers’ enthusiasm.

Read the full article here.

Dutch Disease: Alberta Canada vs. Norway

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

The term ‘Dutch Disease‘ refers to an increase in natural resource based economy crowding out manufacturing and other sectors. It’s also a stand in descriptor for taking all your winnings in a booming market and re-investing them in the same market.

When Oil prices were high, both the province of Alberta and the country of Norway benefited from a petroleum based economy, but they approached the future in different ways.

Brian Ripley over at CHPC summarizes Bruce Campbells take-away of the differences between these two economies approach to oil wealth:

Alberta’s so called “progressive” conservative governments; 7 consecutive iterations since 1971, have squandered their provincial energy resources leaving their treasury with a CAD 12 billion dollar debt and a 500 million dollar deficit.

Norway, a county of 5.2 million people (Alberta’s population is similar at 4.2 million), began their first successful North Sea oil drilling in 1971 and by maintaining sovereign control and creating partnerships with the private sector “… now sits on top of a CAD ONE TRILLION DOLLAR pension fund established in 1990 to invest the returns of oil and gas. The capital has been invested in over 9,000 companies worldwide including over 200 in Canada. IT IS NOW THE LARGEST SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND IN THE WORLD”

Read the full article over at CHPC.

Where’d yo job go? Build or perish.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Good news!

There was a big jump in full time jobs in February!

The bad news?

Some people think this is ‘unsustainable‘ because most of the jobs were in construction or ‘public sector’ and the recent drop in oil prices may have an effect on these parts of the economy.

Screenshot 2015-03-29 18.03.24

 

But in the meanwhile if you’re looking for work and want to know who’s hiring find your nearest construction pit or government office.

Read the original article over at wolfstreet.

US claims stolen Chinese money washed in Van RE.

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Anyone who’s read this site for a while has probably noticed a couple of things:

1. A number of regular reader and commenters here blame wealthy Chinese ‘investor immigrants’ for the high cost of real estate in Vancouver.

2. The administration of this site disagrees and thinks that over-stretched house-horny locals and government insured lending on real estate are primarily to blame for high prices.

Yet we must admit this story has us thinking perhaps the truth is a blend of those two viewpoints:

U.S. alleges Metro Vancouver homes were part of scheme to launder money embezzled in China

Authorities allege that in the summer of 2011, shortly after they qualified for U.S. green cards, Qiao and Zhao began surreptitiously using accomplices to transfer millions of dollars into bank accounts in Wenzhou city, Hong Kong and Canada. At least two Canadian banks were used, HSBC Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Zhao recently put the White Rock property up for sale for $689,000. Paulo Leung, a real estate agent with Regent Park Realty, said he had also sold the property to her in 2012 as an investment. He declined to say more. Both properties are being managed by Vancouver-based Chartell Properties. A receptionist there said they knew Zhao.

A search of property and title records conducted by The Vancouver Sun show that Zhao’s numbered company bought the properties outright. However, a few months later, it took out mortgages on both, totalling $1.1 million, that represented almost their entire market value. According to the U.S. indictment, a few weeks later Zhao and Qiao took money from their Canadian RBC account to pay for a Bellevue home.

Officials for the RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada said they did not know if their departments assisted U.S. and Chinese investigators, and could not comment if they did.

Read the full article over in the Vancouver Sun.

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