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.

A recent poll by Insights West says that 73% of people polled believe that levying a tax on those who buy homes in BC but don’t live in them is a ‘very good’ or ‘good’ idea.

It also suggests this sentiment is strongest among residents of Metro Vancouver (77 per cent), people aged 18 to 34 (76 per cent) and those in the highest annual household income bracket (76 per cent.)

Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs at Insights West, says it shows that even homeowners, who stand to make a lot of money on the resale of their home as foreign ownership drives up prices, are concerned about the negative effect on the community.

For instance, 86 per cent believe that absentee homeowners are speculators and not really part of the community, and that number jumps to 92 per cent for those with higher incomes.

That’s despite a high number of homeowners (76 per cent) saying they believe when foreigners buy homes the value of their properties go up.

“To have (developer) Bob Rennie tell you that a condo is the best thing to do is kind of like having the CEO of McDonalds tell you that their burgers are nutritious and they are the only thing you can afford,” Canseco said in an interview.

They also addressed the racism angle by breaking down responses by ethnicity and asking if they feel that the debate on foreign real estate ownership in BC is inherently racist.

They only divide ‘ethnicity’ into ‘white’, ‘east asian’ and ‘south asian’ because … ?

Read the full article over at the Vancouver Sun.

Friday Free-for-all!

May 29th, 2015

It’s the end of another glorious week here in paradise! Let’s enjoy another weekend of world class premium quality lifestyle in one of the most exciting places on earth!

This is the Friday Free-for-all, our regular end of the week news round-up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat, Bon Appetite!

Totally not ‘mind-numbingly boring’
Nuanced debate.
Look who jumped on the bandwagon
Entitled to what?
The terror of a speculation tax
‘Free market’ means what?
Don’t need data. You’re racist.

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

House-poor Canadians

May 28th, 2015

Southseacompany pointed out this article.  Seems like the more valuable our real estate gets the more house-poor Canadians become.

“Campbell says that many, like Edgerton and Camus, are surviving now, but the big question is what happens if there’s an unplanned setback — from a job loss to a rise in interest rates.”

“”If the housing market goes down and those individuals have to sell, we’re going to see a lot of houses on the market, which will further reduce the house market in general,”

‘Canada has among the highest home ownership rates in the world; owning a home is one of the ultimate Canadian dreams. And it’s perhaps why so many people choose to live house poor rather than sell their home.”

Read the full article at the CBC.

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.

Friday free-for-all!

May 22nd, 2015

Guess what time it is?

Its Friday free-for-all time!

This is the open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes below and have an excellent weekend!

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.

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.

Friday Free-for-all!

May 15th, 2015

It’s that time of the week again…

Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our standard end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend, here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

How about more taxes?
Not all owners oppose lower prices
Equity Protection
What a realtor says
The premier wedge issue?
Lessons learned in the 80s?
Harper warns of high debt

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

 

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?

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