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Ian Young on Vancouver’s ‘freak show’ housing market

A Q&A with the Vancouver correspondent for the South China Morning Post, a keen observer of the city’s housing market and its unaffordability crisis


 

Maclean’s spoke to Ian Young, the Vancouver correspondent for the South China Morning Post, for our special report on how China is buying up Canada—a real-estate frenzy that is affecting the market in ways and places beyond Vancouver. Our full interview with Young follows.

Q: You’ve described Vancouver’s housing market as a world-class freak show?

A: Yeah. It is a world-class freak show. There’s something really strange going on here in Vancouver’s housing market. And you know, I hope that everyone appreciates that.

What do you mean by that?

The gap between income and prices—here we are in Dunbar, which is a very sort of middle class-looking neighbourhood, very average-looking homes, nothing particularly spectacular about them, you know, clapboard and shingle, but every single one of those houses is worth more than $3 million. What kind of city are we in where that happens? You know, people from outside Vancouver who see that find it very hard to believe. But for some reason, a lot of Vancouverites have very quickly accepted this is the reality, this is the norm, and this is what we’re stuck with.

People elsewhere tend to think, well, Toronto’s unaffordable, my city is unaffordable. What is unique about Vancouver?

The style of foreign money flows into Vancouver has certainly been up there with Hong Kong. Hong Kong has suffered the same sort of issues. Other cities, you know, they might be expensive, but they’re not as unaffordable as Vancouver. Vancouver’s always been up there generally as the second-most unaffordable city behind Hong Kong.We’ve just dipped behind Sydney. But I’m pretty sure after 2015 we’ll be back up there behind Hong Kong once again.

We’ve also got some of the lowest salaries in Canada.

That’s right. I think that that’s atrocious. Why is Vancouver, which is one of the richest cities in Canada in terms of wealth, also one of the most income-poor? How do we address that?

2015 in particular was a bizarre year here in Vancouver in the market. What happened?

In terms of single family homes, we saw prices go up by 40 percent—not 14 percent, by 40 percent. Vancouver was really at the eye of this storm. You can’t see the forces that are dictating this in terms of interest rates or local economy or anything like that. It’s being driven by foreign money outflows, specifically from China, and by exchange rates. We had this perfect storm of this fear of the Chinese yuan devaluation in China last year concurrently with a Canadian dollar collapse. It triggered these big outflows, and a lot of it headed for Vancouver.

Why is Canada, and why Vancouver in particular? What makes it so appealing to someone from mainland China?

Vancouver’s always had a special place in the imagination of Hong Kongers, and latterly mainland Chinese. There’s this big infrastructure for ethnic Chinese people in terms of language, food, social networks, things like that. And that made Vancouver popular for mainland Chinese. It’s a policy issue too. The immigration policies and the tax policies made Canada a very attractive choice.

You mean the [now cancelled] federal Immigrant Investment Program?

It was hugely popular. It basically was a no-risk scheme. You hand over $800,000 for a period of five years, you get the money back at the end of five years, and that’s permanent residency status for you and your dependents. Other countries don’t have schemes like that. They have risk-based schemes where you stand to lose your investment, or at least you must hire people or they’re proper business investment programs. This wasn’t that. This was people simply being asked to buy permanent residency, buy citizenship in effect. So you know, Canada and Vancouver became hugely popular as a result of that.

Ian Young, the Vancouver correspondent for the South China Morning Post. (Photograph by Jimmy Jeong)

Ian Young, the Vancouver correspondent for the South China Morning Post. (Photograph by Jimmy Jeong)

You found a really fascinating federal study that was done that showed the impact of this program by looking at people’s tax returns. Explain what it showed.

It was crazy. We’re talking about something like 120,000 to 140,000 people since this immigrant investor scheme came into being in the mid to late eighties. Yet the average income tax paid by the principal applicants, by these millionaire migrants, was $1,400 per year in Canada. That’s kind of insane. What that demonstrates is that millionaire migrants tend not to earn their money in Canada after they have arrived here. Even their children do not go on to become big earners in Canada. We’ve got statistics that show that they go on to earn below-average incomes. And the reason is that there’s been this phenomenon of return migration, where people turn up here to obtain Canadian citizenship and a Canadian passport as a back-up—you never know what’s going to happen—and then head back to Hong Kong or China or wherever, earning their income overseas. That fuels unaffordability here in Vancouver. Because if people are not funding their housing choices here in Vancouver using domestically earned income, by definition, that is widening the unaffordability gap. Vancouver’s prices wouldn’t be a problem if Vancouver’s incomes matched them.

What is the impact of all this on young homebuyers?

For millennials, I think this is a huge social justice issue, a huge issue of fairness. We talk about what the impact would be of some sort of big bang correction in the market here. It would be disastrous for a lot of people. I’m not trying to undersell that. But for me, the key issue isn’t how many people would win and how many people would lose. The key issue is one of fairness. Because what have people under the age of 40, the millennials, done to deserve to be in this situation? It’s not because they’re not as smart; it’s not because they’re lazy; it’s not because any of that. It’s simply because the accident of birth, of when they were born, that has dictated how much they’re being priced out of this city. And this idea that people can now get on a ladder, get on the property-buying ladder to work their way up like people did in the seventies, eighties, or even nineties or whatever, you know, it’s just ludicrous.

The other interesting thing that’s happened, and you’ve pointed this out, is that this has happened in a vacuum almost. There has been no public conversation about what’s been happening the last few years.

We’re now in the situation in Vancouver where we’ve got this generation who have been priced out of single-family homes, and to an extent even townhouses, and are now being told they have to live in condos and raise their families in condos. I’ve lived in condos most of my life, got no problem with them. But to have that choice imposed upon people without there being a conversation—that as a result of the things that we are doing and as a result of the things that we aren’t doing and the things that we’re ignoring, this is the way it’s going to be—I think that’s wrong.

There is this gap that is often depicted as a gap of race in terms of the understanding of this situation. But it’s not a gap of race at all. What it is, it’s a gap of age. People who are under their mid-forties perceive this situation very, very differently to people who are over their mid-forties, who will say ‘I’ve seen it before, I pulled myself up, I managed to get on the house-buying ladder, you can do the same’. It’s not the same. We’ve never seen an unaffordability crisis like we’re experiencing in this city. And God, I hope we never see it again.

What forces were blocking that conversation? There have been accusations of racism thrown around by a lot of leading figures in key industries, including by academics.

I have received a lot of pushback, not from the ethnic Chinese community; I’ve received pushback from the development industry and from certain people in the academic community—not people, I would hasten to add, who have ever actually conducted any peer-reviewed studies on affordability in this city.

These accusations of racism that get thrown around when we’re talking about this issue are generally kind of spurious. It’s very easy to stop a conversation in a place like Vancouver by saying that it’s strayed into racist territory. The mayor himself, Mayor Gregor Robertson, in response to Andy Yan’s study about ethnic Chinese house buyers here in Vancouver, the mayor said it had racist tones. I know Any Yan quite well. His grandparents paid the head tax. He’s an ethnic Chinese guy. He’s very active in the ethnic Chinese community and very active in Chinatown. So to have someone like Andy Yan’s reputation damaged like that, I thought was atrocious.

Related: What’s the point of Vancouver?

What did that study by Andy Yan find?

Well, here we are in Dunbar, which is a very nice, little community. Andy’s looked at the neighbourhoods around here, and he found that 66 percent of single-family home sales went to people with purely Chinese names.When I say purely Chinese names, I’m saying non-Anglicized Chinese names. It was this study that the mayor took issue with and said it had racist tones. So what does that study prove? What it doesn’t prove is that any one of those individual buyers was a Canadian, a non-Canadian, permanent resident, foreign resident, foreign investor or whatever. It doesn’t prove any of that. But if we look at the entirety of the study, what you can say is it does two things. It proves that those buyers are ethnically Chinese. I don’t think that’s disputable. If someone’s got a purely Chinese name, they’re ethnically Chinese. Secondly, I think to an almost irrefutable degree, it proves they have some form of Chinese as a language mother tongue.

When you stand that 66 percent figure of buyers versus the presence of those Chinese speakers here in Vancouver in 2006, which I think was something like 18 percent, that’s a huge disparity. How do we account for that? Clearly what we’re talking about is new arrivals, new buyers. Whether or not they’re foreign investors or are new immigrants, we’re talking about new money, especially if we’re talking about multi-million-dollar properties.

The typical ethnic Chinese person in Vancouver is not a multi-millionaire migrant.

There are any number of Chinese communities—in the plural form—here in Vancouver. The millionaire migrant community is just one of them. But when we talk specifically about the Immigrant Investor Program, the fact is the vast majority of arrivals under that scheme have been mainland Chinese recently.

But that’s neither here nor there. What defines those people in terms of their behaviour here in Vancouver, and in terms of their impact on affordability, is not there Chineseness; it’s their millionaireness. You know, the idea that there is commonality to be found in the Chineseness, I find that kind of insulting. Why would you think that someone was better defined by the colour of their skin rather than the colour of their money? Quite clearly, in terms of unaffordability, the key issue is how rich people are when they turn up and when they buy a home.

Bayne Stanley/CP

Bayne Stanley/CP

It’s also become a one-industry town, Vancouver, which has had impacts in the political scene. You’ve got a lot of political donations coming from within that industry, and I think that also helps direct the conversation that we have here.

I don’t think it’s any secret that [Vancouver real estate marketer] Bob Rennie is Christy Clark’s go-to guy financially. The real estate development industry has been very active politically. Last year, when Rennie came out with the idea of a speculation tax to try and, I think, hose down this conversation, it was only a couple of hours later that Mayor Robertson stood up and said yeah, let’s do a speculation tax. It’s kind of coincidental.

So what happens to this city?

I think what’s happens is what’s already happening, which is the city is getting hollowed out. We’ve become this one-industry town. I think that the best and brightest sometimes are being steered towards real estate development because that’s where the money is. We’re becoming more and more akin to a resort community. We’re becoming a place where people come to retire, to go to school, to go on holidays, but not to live and to earn an income that can afford housing here. The fact that we’ve got such low levels of income demonstrate that. We should not be a city that has the highest levels of wealth in Canada and some of the lowest incomes. That’s just not right.

Is this a sustainable?

It’s sustainable as long as the money keeps flowing. The problem is these are big global forces at play that are being allowed to do what they will with the Vancouver market. I wouldn’t want to predict what’s going to happen in the future in terms of prices or anything like that, but what I would say is that Vancouver is, as it has been, beholden to these big forces, and people need to be aware of that.


 

Ian Young on Vancouver’s ‘freak show’ housing market

  1. The housing crisis in areas like Lower Mainland & Metro Vancouver areas as well as Greater Toronto area is a disaster affecting the quality of people lives, health, performance at work and career , their families and the way the kids are raised. It is sucking people salaries and their whole lives. Housing is a very basic need in life and when people are suffering from this issue, their lives will turn into hell. Clearly, in the last few months, dirty practices like money laundry use of buying thousands of properties by foreign investors most of which are empty have contributed hugely to the crisis in Lower Mainland and Metro Vancouver areas in BC. This has caused skyrocketing home prices and rentals as well as huge shortage of homes. The bad thing is that the BC and Federal governments are very well aware of these dirty practices but don’t seem to care despite all the pressure from national and international media, social media, university and expert economists’ studies and reports addressing the housing crisis. This is very bad, irresponsible, dirty, and disgusting.

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/foreign+buyers+crushing+home+dreams+vancouver+canada+study/11905004/story.html

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/05/02/Clark-Donors-Tied-Real-Estate/

    http://bc.ctvnews.ca/real-estate-loophole-lets-wealthy-buyers-save-millions-in-taxes-1.2874603

    http://vancouversun.com/opinion/an-affordable-housing-manifesto

    http://www.torontosun.com/2016/04/20/canadas-subsidizing-foreign-millionaires

    http://www.torontosun.com/2016/04/29/foreign-buyers-create-real-estate-bubble-risk

    http://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/8-factors-that-really-mess-up-vancouvers-real-estate-prices/
    http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/chinese-real-estate-investors-are-reshaping-the-market/

  2. Very insightful and well written article. I lived in BC for 18 years and saw the changes that happened over that time. I am sick with what is going on now and after reading this, I don’t see how there can possibly be any change in the housing market without serious economic ramifications. I have lived in Ontario for 10 years now (transferred out) and have never regretted moving here, especially for the opportunities afforded for my children. After reading this and other related articles, it only gives me greater comfort that we made the right decision in moving here.
    When I bought a home in 1999 in BC, real estate was high even then, in comparison to the salaries you could earn in Vancouver. I remember saying to friends at the time who were finding it challenging to buy a home, to “just wait; housing prices are bound to come down”. Was I so very wrong! My friends in Toronto earned more, paid substantially less for their homes, had a parent who stayed home with the kids, and even then, had a much better lifestyle than we could afford. In BC we struggled with two salaries and had to have a tenant to give us some financial breathing space. As well, the cost of living was much less in Ontario at the time than in Vancouver. This is still the case to the best of my knowledge. So not only are salaries less in Vancouver, but your buying power is far less. Food, insurance, entertainment and even used cars are cheaper in Ontario. Admittedly ,Toronto housing is more expensive now as well, but outside the GTA, you can still purchase a nice home in town such as St Catharines that are in a good area with great schools for an average of$300K and there are homes for far less than that. The commute from this community to larger cities such as Toronto is just over an hour.
    I think a very precarious and unwieldy economic situation has been created which will have to collapse first, in order to be rebuilt properly, from the ground up. If I lived there now and owned a home, I don’t think I would hesitate to cash out and sell, move somewhere with cheaper real estate and jobs and bank my gain. I would find greater comfort in knowing that I had my retirement money and that my kids would also be able to buy a home in the community they grew up in, than looking at the mountains for the five days a year they are visible

  3. Excellent article! We need to put a stop to the foreign investment program still going strong in Quebec, ensure foreigners with family and property here are paying world wide income tax to Canada, restrict foreign ownership & speculation of Canadian residential real estate. If you agree, please sign and share the online petition @ http://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-restrict-foreign-ownership-speculation-in-canada
    This is not an issue about racism. My wife is Canadian Chinese and she feels just as strongly about making sure Canadians come first over foreign money.

  4. Interesting to note that Vancouver is seen as Utopia for people from Hong Kong. Well, it is. I was born in Hong Kong, and so was my father, although we are of Indian descent rather than Chinese. I don’t describe myself as anything other than Canadian. I can’t remember it. We left when I was a year old in 1966. We were a well-off family, but still, we lived with two other families in a small apartment. It would be hypocritical of me to deny people the dream of Canada (or Vancouver). However, that is an anecdote and not the macro view.

    Finally, we are defining the issues. I agree with the other posters. Fantastic article. We need to see Ian and Nancy on a talk show circuit to describe the impact upon young Vancouverites. This is a serious issue. The video was good but the content of the article was much better. Identifying the issues at had is the start. Define the problems created by the current situation in Real Estate.

    Lack of affordability and erosion of the tax base are both significant problems. We creating a class of young people, even if they are successful, will have to win a lottery to buy a home. That’s not right. This is the group that will create wealth and keep the coffers full for pensioners in the years to come. Why are they being denied the same dream that people from another country are fulfilling?

    In my mind there are two things that must happen: 1) Wages must rise 2) Taxes must rise the part of the economy foreign buyers are concentrated in. For instance, we are BC residents susidizing the children of foreign buyers by funding private schools? Why are the taxes on ESL schools not increased? 3) Why can’t the investor exemption in Immigration Act be changed to xclude housing purchases.

    I won’t solve any of the problems with this missive, but I hope that the debate begins to get serious and proposals are put forward before we start losing our young professionals to opportunities elsewhere.

  5. I think the critical issue from the article is that Chinese investors love Vancouver so much because they can continue to live an entirely Chinese lifestyle here without the downsides of a tyrannical regime, overcrowding, and chronic pollution. They move here and can operate entirely in Mandarin or Cantonese. Everything from their car dealer to their accountant can speak their language. I don’t blame them for choosing this region – i’d do it too in their situation. But i think it’s only a matter of time before English is relegated to the language of the server class.

  6. “Vancouver has certainly been up there with Hong Kong” stop with the hyperbole and navel gazing! Vancouver is not even in the top 10 hot real estate markets and Hong Kong is only #2 (behind Monaco). Also, housing price is only a component of cost of living – in terms of cost of living the top ten list is different but Hong Kong fades and Vancouver still does not make the list (Vancouver is 49th and Toronto is 88th). As the old joke goes, perhaps ‘they should go to New York and see how they do it there’.
    Fact 1: land – they aren’t making any more of it, although Vancouver has a good deal of made land. Fact 2: millionaires – there are more than enough to go around. Fact 3: (why Vancouver in particular?) Vancouver has viewscape everywhere one looks. Oddly, Vancouver is a favored destination for Australians but no one is talking about that.
    “Mayor Robertson stood up and said yeah, let’s do a speculation tax” as if capital gains taxes did not exist; of course, one’s primary residence is exempt … unless the mayor has his way.
    “are now being told they have to live in condos and raise their families in condos” … that is a general condition in line with every planning department in every medium to large Canadian city under the banner of densification/intensification/smart city/etc.; planners and politicians commonly find solutions to their ‘problems’ by packing as much real estate as possible into as small a land area as possible always biased towards higher value (higher tax revenue) development: just look at the picture accompanying this article to see where their heads are at.

  7. The $3M fixer upper is a good story but does not compare to the 3M pound full-gut fixer upper I saw on a cobbled street in a small Cornish village, or a relative’s 400-year-old ‘country cottage’ with mud brick walls and thatched roof on sale for 999,000 pounds – it’s all relative. Toronto currently has ~1000 residential units listed at >$1M (still considered a bargain) and only a dozen <$250K (all high-rise condo).

  8. It sure looks to me that this problem can be resolved by tightening up the non residents tax exemptions. When you have family living in Canada and you own property in Canada then you should be considered a Canadian resident for tax purposes.

    • I believe that one would indeed be considered a tax resident in those circumstances (spouse and kids living in purchased residence).
      The problems are:
      a) people disregard this and don’t pay taxes on their worldwide income as they should (illegal tax evasion), and
      b) the CRA appears to be useless in enforcing the rules, and
      c) when the CRA does enforce a rule, it gives a sweetheart deal to those involved (see KPMG and Isle of Man), thus there is no real deterrent

  9. 3 mts ago Christie Clark sanctimoniously declared her government won’t allow criminals to profit from the proceeds of crime, when the Penticton murderer’s book was going to be published. Lol! The BC and Federal government conveniently looks the other way for the massive flow of gang proceeds, corrupt government officials and exploitative industries’ flight-money floods into BC, because each home sale generates a transfer tax, each inflated realty sale price pushes up the property tax valuation, realtors are booming and developers (and their permit fees etc) are booming. I’d like the BC and Federal gov’s to publicly announce all foreign buyers’ information will be shared routinely with their country’s corruption investigation authorities. China announced a $190bn witch-hunt against corruption a few months ago – let’s start there…

    • Banning freedom of speech is literally the worst idea in the world.

  10. Great piece. Captured so much of what I feel about Vancouver these days. It’s so tragically sad to me that I have to move away from a city I love in order to have a reasonable lifestyle but it is the new reality. We live in a one bedroom apartment with twins, who sleep in the kitchen. We both have great jobs and can’t make it work here. Thank you to Macleans for at least trying to cover it. Appreciate it.

  11. Didn’t the British do this back in the day, when the many British built
    mansions in many very poor countries around the world, and some even
    became part of the British Empire. They were happily flaunting their
    wealth. I am sure the locals were despising these Brits. We can’t
    continue to suppress the non-whites, they are catching up economically
    and are also flaunting their wealth.

  12. The rich immigrants & foreign buyers of the past used to be the British,
    who bought properties in West Vancouver and the Westside. We didn’t
    complain then. We just couldn’t afford to buy there. Now with a much
    greater population, it is not surprising that land prices even in East Vancouver
    would be rising. The only difference is that the rich buyers are now mainly
    from China. Why are we complaining now? Remember whites used to burn down
    Asian owned stores and protest on the streets that Asians were taking their jobs.
    And banned Asians from purchasing houses in the British Properties in W. Vanc.
    If the current foreign investors were again from Britain or other Western countries,
    the whites would not be in such an uproar about Vancouver real estate prices.

    • I agree that those who don’t see that the current residents of Vancouver (myself included) who feel like someone is unfairly competing with them but don’t see that there is a parallel to the aboriginal communities who were once owners of this land, but were displaced by a globalizing economy headed out of London are blind to history. We can acknowledge that the past wasn’t the ideal. We can acknowledge that previous rampant racism was not right – and indeed, our government is apologizing for one of those racist episodes this month (Komogata Maru incident).

      But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t voice concerns over the impact of the present economy and set up. Policies, economies, tax laws, the movement of global capital are all human constructions with sets of rules designed by humans. Their purpose is to improve societies – as civilizing forces. While the current flow of capital is coming mainly from one location, we can have a rational debate about the flow of wealth without that debate being inherently about race. As Ian Young so consistently reminds us, it is about how the global financial game has been constructed and how it has been played.

      It is possible to change the rules of that game so that local communities thrive. It is possible to ensure that those with the wherewithal to receive services and benefit from land ownership in high tax, high service countries but earn their money and pay they taxes in low service, low tax environments should be prevented from doing so. This isn’t about race. This is about tax fairness. This is about asking where the trillions of dollars of quantitative easing ended up (real estate, perhaps?).

      Some people can use this as a vehicle for their racism. But we cannot simply avoid the conversation because of that. We need to pull the focus of the conversation where it belongs: the structure of the global economy.

  13. The author of this article seems to be demanding government mandated affordability!!!! Let me remind you that affordability is not a right. Condo living is not a incarceration nor a penitentiary. In a free market economy, with highly educated population, will attract more investment and free capital flow will eventually boost salaries, and will lead to more affordable housing. It may also lead to a real estate market bubble that will eventually burst and bring down prices to the real market value. This is the beauty of free market, natural forces will make the necessary adjustments. Relax and have a beer!

  14. The second largest country in the world has a housing crisis, unbelieveable.
    We can use our land much more efficiently. In comparison, seven Englands
    could fit into the land mass of BC, and England has a population of 50 million.
    Canada’s population needs to spread out. Maybe with global warming, more
    people will move away from along the US border and from the West coast.

  15. I know what we must do. If the market won’t crash, we need to crash it. Scare the speculators away. If 100,000 homes are listed at once, of course with no actual intention of selling, we will effectively screw with the market. We will artificially shoot up supply, and lets just hold it like this for a few months. Then all the investors will also hopefully try to sell their homes. To fix this problem, the people need to unite. The politicians are in these peoples pockets.

    • Hi:

      That is a great idea but you would need to list on your own and not sign with an agent or there could be legal ramifications. The downside is that this would hurt all the Canadians who have bought a home and are mortgaged to the hilt or the ones that are banking on the equity for their retirement. I still think the best solution if you own a home and aren’t happy with the situation is just to sell and move to another province, buy a cheaper house, and use the cash you reap for your retirement, or to help your kids buy a house. Leave the province to the Clark and the liberal government (I am not a huge fan as I lived through the Gordon Campbell era…remember Hawaii?) and the international buyers. Maybe instead of leaving all those houses vacant they can turn BC into a huge time share.

      Radical perhaps, but what is life without a bit of adventure and it isn’t all that hard. I have lived in 4 provinces and 9 cities, twenty five of which were in BC. I am in Ontario now, and guess what it is great and actually my favorite province. I live in the Niagara Region and it is a combination of all the good things in all the provinces I have lived in, plus it is way more friendly than any of the nine cities I have lived in.

      A

  16. Every. Single. News. Article. COMPLETELY ignores the fact that Vancouver is hemmed in on four sides. Mountains to the North. Water to the West. USA to the South. ALR to the East. Land is scarce and greenfield sites are now completely built out. And the population continues to rise, driving demand. Ergo, prices are going up. We can look to outside influences to desperately try to explain why prices keep going up but if Vancouverites seriously want to address the affordability issue we must build more housing on existing land. Full stop. And there’s thousands of ways to do so. Laneway houses, stacked townhomes, row houses, condos, apartments above street-level retail, etc. It’s really our fixed and extremely restrictive zoning laws that are hampering the creativity and ambition that will be required to solve the housing puzzle. Folks can keep pointing fingers at Chinese money and hope that things will magically improve, but the stark reality is we must alter and improve our landscape in interesting new ways if we want to make this city affordable for residents of the future.

    • Okay, it may have something to do with it, but the overbidding by hundreds of thousands dollars is China money.

      • I’m a 4th generation local and I outbid several Chinese buyers within the last year. It’s not Chinese money that’s driving this. It’s generational wealth leveraging out and out again and again on limited supply.

      • And I’ve overbid by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    • Ya thats bull. You’re obviously someone who never leaves Vancouver proper. There is still a lot and I mean a lot of 1-40 acre properties in Langley, South Surrey, Clayton, Port Kells, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Medows, Abbotsford, and a little bit in Delta that are not part of the ALR and can be developed. Even then land can be pulled out of the ALR (Not that it should be though). Plus you can still build up the mountains, look at Coquitlam for instance.

  17. I have looked at a dozen apartments in the last two months and I finally decided to call it quits when I was shown a $700 “micro suite” that had no kitchen, a shared bath and was the size of your childhood bedroom. When I live on a street (49th at Cambie) where one house sold for $3.3m and another 1 bdrm home (built in 1926) is going for $2m, I know that I have to leave to stop this struggle. Victoria, here I come.

  18. Ian Young has been one of the rare journalists providing insightful, unbiased and valuable reporting on this issue.

    Much of our media reporting on this topic has been corrupted by developer’s advertising dollars, and the CBC has been completely missing in action.

    Keep up the good work!

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