Tag Archives: politics

Friday Free-for-all! March 24th 2016

It’s the end of another glorious work week and that means it’s time for another glorious Friday Free-for-all!

This is 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:

Where politicians fear success
Best neighborhoods
Smart or lucky?
Foreign money problem
Squamish?
Cracks in the market?

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

BC Cabinet gains $2.3 Mill from real estate surge.

CTV looked at how much rising real estate prices added to the personal wealth of the BC Cabinet – $2.3 million this year alone.

Surging real estate values added $2.3 million to B.C. cabinet ministers’ personal wealth this year alone, as the government says coming measures to ease housing affordability won’t include any that lower prices.

One minister saw her four properties jump $765,000, more than five times a minister’s salary. Another saw gains on a portfolio of eight homes. On average, ministers made $103,000 – more than an MLA’s salary, according to a review of public records by CTV News.

It’s natural for those ministers to welcome their own wealth boost, but they have to realize how their eye-popping gains translate into tremendous hardship for young people trying to get into the notorious Vancouver property market, said UBC professor Paul Kershaw.

Read the full article here.

As YVR points out, maybe it’s not just wealthy foreigners who are to blame for rising prices:

Funny thing is HAM is supposed to be buying all the property. Susan Anton owns 4 houses in Vancouver and DeJong owns 8 properties in Abbotsford.

Could that be the problem? Locals owning multiple properties? That is 12 properties between 2 people. Both are white and locals.

Harper plans to pump up housing market

Harper has announced an interesting goal: 700,000 new home owners by 2020.

Harper says home ownership provides Canadians with financial stability and strengthens communities.

According to information provided by the party, the target would raise Canada’s home ownership rate to approximately 72.5 per cent. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., citing information from Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey, says the home ownership rate was 69.0 per cent as of 2011, the most current data available.

Meanwhile in the Metro area home ownership rates have moved from 56% in 1986 to 65% in 2011.

Property tax deferment and empty bedrooms

Peter Ladner over at the Vancouver Courier asks the question ‘why reward Vancouver seniors for staying in big empty houses‘?

The oldest of us will be 80 in 10 years, well past the time we needed all those bedrooms for our children, even the ones who stick around into their 30s. And we have lots of those bedrooms. Canadians have the most living space per person of any country in the world (2.5 rooms per person), according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development stats. I confess: I have two empty bedrooms in my home, even after converting the basement into a suite.

A decade ago, Urban Futures estimated that around 30 per cent of homes in Metro Vancouver had at least one unoccupied bedroom. That would be 220,000 empty bedrooms then, and many more in coming years as the boomer tsunami arrives. It would be interesting to calculate how many years we could go without building any new homes simply by filling up the ones we already have.

The opposing viewpoint says that asking people to pay their property tax is the same as kicking old people out of their homes, some calling Ladner ‘a disgusting human being’.  But as George points out is it really unfair to ask people who’ve benefitted from decades of rising property values to pay their share of the tax bill?

…Whenever young people cry about high housing prices in Vancouver, we’re told that’s the free market, suck it up, supply and demand, blah blah blah. It’s actually not a free market, it’s a highly distorted market, but that’s besides the point. If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. If young people in Vancouver are just supposed to accept being priced out due to the free market, then elderly people should have to accept the same thing. I am not saying I want to see elderly people displaced out of Vancouver. But Peter Ladner is right, it’s just not fair that elderly people sitting on massively overvalued homes get what amounts to a tax subsidy from the young, the very people priced out of the city.

What do you think? Are you against young families or the elderly?

 

Mayor: city is at a ‘breaking point’

When it comes to housing affordability Mayor Robertson says that Vancouver is at a breaking point:

 “The conditions and the context keep getting tougher and tougher in Vancouver as the city gets more and more expensive and more desirable to people all over the world to invest in and move into. We’re basically at a breaking point where we need interventions in the market to ensure that people who live and work and grow up here in Vancouver have the opportunity to stay in the city and to keep being part of it and contributing.”

You may recall the Mayor wrote a letter to the BC Premier supporting the idea of speculation tax. The response from the Premier was based around the fact that such a tax would risk driving down house prices.

The Mayor responds to that idea in this interview at the Tyee:

“I think it’s completely wrong. It’s a totally different subject. What we’re talking about is taking some of the profit out of flipping and speculation, which doesn’t have to do necessarily with foreign ownership or homeownership or the value of homes. This is a business activity that’s taking place every day here in Vancouver where there’s a lot of profit, and it’s an option to transfer some of that profit so people can afford to live in the city. They went off on a completely different tangent in their response at the provincial level, and that’s unfortunate. The premier has said that affordable housing in Vancouver is a problem. Well, we need some action to deal with that.”