Category Archives: politics

Mayor explains why Vancouver is so expensive

Lots of young people like to complain about high housing costs here, but do you know why Vancouver is so expensive?

The Mayor explains:

“…Our cultural scene punches above its weight and routinely draws international attention to our theatre, music, comedy, and visual arts. In its first year, we had Canada’s largest public New Year’s Eve celebration. Hundreds of thousands of people year over year come out to watch one of the largest Pride parades in North America.

Patios stay open later, our craft breweries are exploding in popularity, and our food trucks are globally revered. Car-Free Day on Commercial Drive and Khatsahlano Fest on West 4th pack thousands of families on our streets every summer. The PuSh Festival, viff and the Folk Fest get capacity crowds and have lineups onto the street.”

We are pretty much just like London, New York and San Francisco. Read the full write up by the Gregor Robertson over at the Walrus.

Burnaby Breakfast on Housing Affordability for 1st time buyers

A while back NDP MLA David Eby held an ‘emergency meeting‘ on the Vancouver housing crisis.  (Presumably called a ‘crisis’ because the 25-44 age group is leaving Vancouver faster than they are arriving.)

But you should not be under the impression that the BC Liberals are sitting back and doing nothing about the housing situation here.

Not only have they announced new real estate rules to address many of your concerns, the minister responsible for housing will be attending a Burnaby North Breakfast on Friday May 20th about housing affordability for young first time buyers.

Tickets are only $20 and all proceeds go to support the Burnaby North Riding Association. If you are unable to make it, there is a convenient link to make a direct donation on the bottom of that page and there’s nothing that says donations are limited to developers only.

BC announces new real estate rules

The BC government has announced new rules that require purchasers to reveal citizenship details:

The new requirements, aimed at answering whether foreign ownership is driving up housing prices, go beyond the data that are supposed to be collected for Canada’s anti-money-laundering agency whenever someone is involved in a real estate transaction. Records show there is significant non-compliance among Vancouver-area real estate firms, which are required to collect the information for the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FinTRAC).

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said he is confident provincial auditors will be more successful. “The objective here is to get beyond the theory, get beyond the conjecture and the speculation and actually have hard data,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

They also announced new requirements to deal with bare trusts:

The new disclosure rules will also create new data on the use of bare trusts, after an investigative report in The Globe showed how such trusts may be used to transfer property ownership without paying the property transfer tax. Mr. de Jong said the data, which must be provided on the new property transfer tax return form, will be shared with Revenue Canada.

Such data are supposed to be collected under Canadian law, but a federal audit of paperwork in Vancouver realty offices found many instances where required filings were significantly lacking.

And of course the dreaded ‘shadow flipping‘:

The new regulation – which applies only to licensed realtors – will not ban contract assignment but seeks to ensure that the seller consents to such an arrangement and is the one who profits if the property is resold before the deal is closed.

So presumably the best way to continue shadow flipping is to avoid being a licensed realtor. Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.

Developers kindly provide support to government

Those of you who complain about the local real estate market should calm down and take a moment to reflect on the benefits of the current situation.

Without financial support from real estate developers how would the provincial government be able to provide necessities like salary top-ups for the premiere?

Without fundraising  by condo marketers it would be you the taxpayer that would have to pay for that extra $300k given to the premiere since 2011.

And if you’re concerned about conflicts of interest, don’t be! The premiere herself has addressed this issue:

‘The issue for us is to make sure we always separate our public duties from any sources of funding for political parties, and I think that’s the most important thing for all of us to remember,” Clark has reportedly said in defense of the stipend. ”I always keep that utmost in my mind when we’re making decisions.”

If you want to read David Ebys concerns about the current situation, you can find them over at the Tyee but  just remember, he’s likely motivated by sour grapes or jealousy.  After all, Eby has been stuck with the MLA responsibilities for Vancouver Point Grey for the last few years while Clark gets to enjoy Kelowna.

Blame government for housing bubble

House prices continue to spiral upwards as more 25-44 year olds continue to leave the city. So who’s fault is it?

One recent study says blame politicians:

Given their policies, Ley’s paper questions how politicians, particularly B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman, found it possible to argue in 2015 that Vancouver housing prices were “pretty reasonable” and that foreign ownership of property had nothing to do with government.

“Yet it most certainly did, for governments had for 30 years led trade and investment missions to Asia, and had used the tool of business immigration to draw in entrepreneurs and their capital.”

The inflated housing prices that have resulted in large part from new East Asian wealth are especially devastating for young and middle-aged Metro Vancouverites, Ley said in a recent talk sponsored by City in Focus.

A study by SFU researcher Andy Yan found that Metro’s university-educated adults earn the lowest wages on average in Canada’s 10 largest cities, Ley said. Many are “disillusioned” and leaving the city.

Read the full article over at the Vancouver Sun.