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Affordability Must Be Govt Priority

VRBA was a recent guest on CFAX 1070 and the time was well-spent shattering housing myths.

Myth #1: Houses are unaffordable.

In fact, most houses are affordable, but the land is unaffordable. In core municipalities like Saanich, the average price is over $800k and about $700k is land value.

Myth #2: There is no land.

Land is available but many councils object to rezoning large properties into smaller lots. Affordable density is often discouraged in urban containment areas intended for housing.

The exception is Langford – the template for efficient permit processes and small lots under 2,000 sq ft creating affordable homes for young families.

As of June 1 this year, Langford posted 404 new homes while only 495 have been built in the remaining 12 municipalities.

More than 100 years ago in James Bay, homes were built on lots under 2,000 sq ft. In 2004, Victoria disallowed new homes on lots under 2,475 sq ft.

Govts have been zoning affordability out of the market while using housing as a cash machine.

Victoria’s development fees generated $500k surplus in 2016, and this year council boosted fees by double digits.

The PTT and GST (which did not exist 35 years ago) continue to generate billions of dollars for provincial and federal coffers.

The reality is builders have little control over what can be built and the cost.

Govts tell us where and what to build (zoning); when to build (permits); how to build (Building Code); and how much revenue they require.

They talk about affordability, but the numbers tell a different story.

Housing costs will continue to rise until govts make affordability a real priority.

Visit us at www.vrba.ca and www.careawards.ca. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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