Category Archives: opinion

Empty home tax hurts those with second homes

People who own seconds homes in Vancouver are suffering under the new empty home tax:

The Unfair Vancouver Vacant Homes Tax Coalition describes its purpose in the name. The group is calling on the city to do something as the Feb. 2 deadline for the empty home tax declaration approaches.

Rainer Borkenhagen says the group is made of members that are mostly retired and live across the country, but still own homes in Vancouver.

Borkenhagen himself lives in Gibsons, but owns a condo in Vancouver.

He said he tried to rent his condo once, but it turned out it was more practical to keep it and use it whenever his family needed it.

Read the full article here.

How sharp a correction?

Most economist are predicting a slower housing market in Canada, but how slow is too slow?

Southseacompany points to this article wondering how ‘sharp’ any correction would be:

Last week, the Bank of Canada hiked the overnight rate to 1.25 per cent, causing the credit union to note that Canadians have some of the highest levels of household debt in the world.

The interest rate hike — when combined with a new mortgage stress test for uninsured borrowers that came into effect on January 1 — could severely limit the purchasing power of many would-be home buyers, cooling the market dramatically.

But while most economists agree that these factors will dampen the market in the first few months of 2018, many believe it will eventually adjust to the changes. What’s more, some argue that Canadians debt levels aren’t as worrying as they might first appear.

“Household debt in Canada is seen by some as unsustainably high and a source of vulnerability for the financial system,” write National Bank chief economist Stéfane Marion and senior economist Matthieu Arseneau in a recent report. “But the international evidence suggests that Canadian household leverage and home prices are not abnormal.”

Read the full article here.

The architect and the economics professor

Bear Vancouverite pointed out this debate on CKNW:

I wanted to share this with you guys: a debate between Tom Davidoff and architect Michael Geller. Davidoff is a UBC economics professor in the Sauder School of Business which some here have (wrongly) accused of being in the RE Industry’s pocket. In this debate Davidoff’s position is that:

1) The rich who own huge homes are being subsidized by the rest of us
2) We should get rid of the Home Owner’s Grant (Michael Geller brings this up too)
3) We should encourage more density in super low density areas like Point Grey
4) We should not gentrify low income areas to increase density if we can increase density in wealthy areas
5) We need to curb demand using tax policy ( Speculator’s Tax)
6) Housing needs to be in line with local incomes

I’ve seen other interviews with Davidoff in the past and I believe he considers our housing overpriced, manipulated by wealth and speculation, and would like to see prices more in line with local incomes.

The one aspect that he believes that I think have offended some people here is he believes “everyone wants to live here”.

https://omny.fm/shows/steele-drex/on-vancouver-housing-geller-v-davidoff-heavyweight

How do you talk about foreign buyers without being racist?

A growing issue in Vancouver real estate is that of foreign buyers. Statistics Canada claims that non-resident foreigners own 7.6% of the value of homes within the city of Vancouver.

Now clearly it is possible to talk about this issue without devolving into racist generalizations and hate, but some commenters on this site have a very difficult time doing so.

There are a number of parties that have no interest in changes to the current market and these parties are served best by angry racist rantings.  What better way to distract from the issue at hand and paint any discussion of foreign buyers as racist?

So good job you knuckle-heads, those that profit in a run-away housing bubble thank you!

 

No plan to prohibit foreign buyers

Bullwhip29 points out that BC Finance Minister Carol James has no plans to prohibit foreign buyers in BC.

Foreign buyers who want to buy residential real estate in Metro Vancouver pay a 15 percent tax.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Carole James has no intention to outlaw foreign buying of B.C. homes when the NDP government introduces a series of policies in the next couple of months to address the high cost of housing.

James has said that there will be no ban like the one that exists in New Zealand.

B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver, on the other hand, has demanded an outright ban on foreign buying of residential real estate to curb demand. And he wants James to introduce this in her upcoming budget.

Read the full article over at the Straight.