Vancouver spin on the obvious.

The globe and mail article I linked to a few days ago about the housing affordability study has been reported on locally in a Vancouver Province article by Ashley Ford. Comparing these two articles is interesting in where they differ:

1) The G&M article doesn’t draw any conclusions about future activity, but the Province article reports that: “That trend is expected to ease in some parts of the country next year as prices start to level off and even decline, but not in B.C. or Alberta.” Interesting to note that prices in some categories have already started to level off or even decline here in Vancouver, so I’m not sure where ‘not in B.C. or Alberta’ comes from.

2) Where the G&M articles says “Renters were much more likely to fall into this category of people who struggle to afford housing” the article in the Province says “However, high prices notwithstanding, it suggests it is still better to own a home than rent.” No. It doesn’t. It suggests that owners tend to have more money than renters (obviously), NOT that it is better to own than rent even with current high prices, which is a dangerous view to take concerning affordability.

3) It is unfortunate that in the local article there is absolutely no info about affordability levels in Vancouver compared to the rest of Canada, just the same National stats from the Globe story. It would have been informative to include this information and would have given the story a local angle.

*subtly edited to make it look like I didn’t make the obvious mistake that VHB pointed out.

repairs: 3400 block west broadway

I see that they’ve started taking down the tarps and scaffolding on the 3400 block of west broadway. The owners and neighbors must be breathing a sigh of relief, I believe the whole south side of the street has been covered for more than a year. How long does the average leaky condo rainscreen repair take in Vancouver? It seems like a lot of buildings are covered for a extensive amount of time.

Have we made it through the majority of leaky condo repairs in Vancouver yet? It seems like the vast landscape of tarps have started to recede somewhat from the fairview and cambie neighborhoods.

On a side note: if you have pictures of tarp covered condo repairs in the lower mainland I’d love to see them*. Email them to me with the address and any other info you may have and I’ll post them. Ideally I’ll build up a searchable database of condo repair photos that may or may not be useful when condo-shopping in Vancouver.

*clearly I am a freak.

A study of the obvious.

There’s a story in the Globe and Mail today about a study on affordability across canada. Apparently its expensive to live in the most expensive cities and 14% of Canadians spent 30% or more of their income on shelter. The 30% of income thing is a standard indicator of lack of affordability.

The concept of affordability has traditionally been based on a ratio of housing costs to total household income, Statscan said. A household paying 30 per cent or more of its pre-tax income for housing is considered to have affordability problem.

During Statscan’s survey period, 12 per cent of households spent between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of pre-tax income on housing. Two per cent spent 50 per cent or more to keep a roof above their heads.

Averaged across Canada, it was renters that were more inclined to have this affordability problem, so I’m guessing most other Canadian cities don’t have the situation we have in Vancouver where owners buying at current prices are subsidizing renters.

Renters were much more likely to fall into this category of people who struggle to afford housing, Statscan said. Thirty-one per cent of people who rented in 2004 spent 30 per cent or more of their budget on shelter, compared with 6 per cent of home owners.

“These rental households consisted mostly of individuals living alone, those relying on government assistance, and those in low income,” Statscan said.

Not surprisingly, people who rented in Canada’s two most expensive cities, Toronto and Vancouver, incurred the highest cost in terms of rent.

The best line of the whole study is at the end:

Renters who earned less than $19,190 a year were 18 times more likely to be cost-burdened when it comes to housing than people in the top one-half of the income chain.

Yes, the startling fact: People with lower incomes have a more difficult time affording things. Thanks Statscan!

More fallout from False Creek lease rate increases

There’s an article in todays Globe and Mail about some of the anger and distress caused by the recent increases in False Creek lease rates.

The people who own homes in False Creek aren’t rich and they aren’t poor. They’re teachers, child-care workers, retired professionals and small-business owners. Over the past 30 years, most of the nearly 300 homeowners have paid out their leases, so this increase does not affect them.

But the owners of 118 units, like Ms. Greene, still pay monthly. Ms. Greene said she could never afford to buy out her lease, last tabulated at more than $30,000.

The new rates were passed unanimously by city council last month, though some politicians are now saying that they ‘didn’t fully understand the issue’.

Michael Flanigan, director of Vancouver’s real-estate services, said the increases were tabulated to reflect current market values. Mr. Flanigan stressed that the increases aren’t carved in stone; residents will have their say at a council meeting. He said consideration may be granted to those who can’t afford the fees.

“We are not insensitive,” Mr. Flanigan said in an interview. “Not all homeowners are in the same socio-economic class or have the capacity to pay these increases. . . . We don’t necessarily want to see economic evictions.”

No, we don’t necessarily want to see economic evictions, but you can’t make world class omelette’s without breaking a few eggs eh?