Soaring housing prices finally get some attention

Issue impacts everyone who is wanting to get into the housing market in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.

At long last, there seems to be some movement on an issue which affects almost everyone — the soaring cost of housing in Metro Vancouver.

While much of the attention centres on the City of Vancouver,  where the problem is probably at its worst, it does impact everyone who is wanting to get into the housing market in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, as well as those who have bought within the recent past. It also has an effect on renters, because rents are soaring as well.

A movement has got underway on social media, using the hashtag #donthave1million. A rally was held on Sunday to protest the high cost of housing as well.

Here in Langley, there has been a run on single family homes in recent months. Realtors report that new listings immediately  get plenty of attention, with most selling quickly. Some sell for more than the asking price. One resident told me Monday that her home sold in five days, and over the asking price.

It is important to point out that single family homes seem to be the centre of attention in all areas of the Lower Mainland. There have always been a limited number  in Vancouver. While Surrey and Langley used to be dominated  by single family homes, such is not the case with new construction nowadays.

Many homes which are nominally single family actually house two or more separate family units, in suites and coach houses. Many people who buy these kind of homes have a limited ability to pay the mortgage, even at continuing low rates, unless they have a steady stream of rental money coming in.

In Vancouver, much of the focus has been on foreign money coming in and distorting the market. There is no question  that money made offshore, primarily in China, has been moving into the real estate market — particularly in Vancouver, Richmond and the North Shore. This has boosted prices, and higher prices in the central core of the metro area definitely have a spillover effect on areas such as Langley.

Ian Young, who writes an insightful blog called Hongcouver for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, wrote a post last week whose title says it all: “Something is grotesquely wrong with Vancouver’s housing market, and the time for denialism is over.” It is filled with details and background as to some of the causes behind the overinflated market.

It can be found at http://www.scmp.com/comment/blogs/article/1804916/something-grotesquely-wrong-vancouvers-housing-market-and-time.

The provincial government seems reluctant to get involved in any way. It could easily do so, by changing the property purchase tax structure to ensure that buyers using foreign money to fund home purchases pay the tax at a higher rate. At the same time, it could reduce the tax for  genuine B.C. residents, or expand the existing tax break for first-time buyers.

Both Victoria and Ottawa need to start collecting detailed statistics about home ownership as well. Doing nothing will ensure that this problem keeps growing until a genuine crisis comes along.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Liberal candidates Michael de Jong and Bruce Banman are projected to win in Abbotsford West and Abbotsford South, respectively. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News
Aldergrove Liberals de Jong and Banman heading to Victoria, say Highway 1 widening will be focus

In Abbotsford-Mission, BC Liberal Simon Gibson in close race against NDP’s Pam Alexis

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Students at Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020. (Katie Glover/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Students cast a ballot for Langley candidates

Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020

Voting locations in Langley for the 2020 BC provincial election. (Google)
MAP: Voting locations in Langley

Sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read