Think housing in Vancouver is too expensive? That Metro Vancouver is becoming a market only for the rich or foreign investors? Seems local housing experts don't think so and they've got the numbers to back it up.
Tuesday's Globe and Mail interviewed Vancouver multi-family real estate marketer Bob Rennie and housing consultant Dale McClanaghan regarding Rennie's argument that Vancouver real estate is not expensive. Rather, as the stats prove, its prices in Richmond and Vancouver west side that are skewing market perceptions. With 30-year old single-family homes in Richmond selling between $800k-$1.3m and similar homes in Vancouver's west side selling for more adding those sales into the local stats is creating the perception that all of Metro Vancouver is expensive. Blaming foreign investors for driving the prices up is also not accurate. Rather, the buyers are new immigrants looking for the best homes for their families. With safe streets, plenty of schools, government supported medical system plus all the other reasons you and I choose to live here, who wouldn't want to live here?
Both Rennie and McClanaghan do agree that Metro Vancouver does need to do more to ensure a supply of mid-priced housing. This goal is the same shared by other large cities except Metro Vancouver's policies are not allowing for room to grow or a supply of land for housing.
Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy (MV RGS) has met heavy resistance from housing affordability experts and the housing industry. The MV RGS is designating where and what type of housing can be built. In most cases that means high-density multi-family apartments or townhomes with little allowance for new single-family homes. The MV RGS also locks away buildable land for the next 30 years continuing to drive up the cost of land and the (multi-family) homes built on it. The majority of these lands include ALR properties - lands that are not viable for farming due to small size, poor soil conditions or proximity to residential/industrial properties but more than suitable for housing. While these policies may win Metro Vancouver politicians points with special interest groups they are failing to address the current or future needs of homebuyers by limiting the supply of land to build single-family homes. After all, if buying a house is just attainable for current homebuyers how will future generations buy a home?
Read more of the interview at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/busting-the-myths-of-vancouver-real-estate/article2033738/ (The Globe and Mail, May 24, 2011)
If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me directly.
Curious where home values in your neighborhood are going? Click here to find out.
Bob Sethi, BComm
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