It’s been more than 20 years since demographer David Foot released his bestseller Boom, Bust & Echo and the message still rings true.

“When you get a big group of people moving through the same stage of their life at the same time, that’s what generates the mega-trends around us,” says Foot.

BC’s housing boom and shortage was predictable and the govt could have planned far in advance.

Instead, the govt choked housing with regional greenbelts (ALR), is adding more tax (PTT, Speculation Tax, School Tax) and costly building regulations (Step Code).

The province’s policy of self-determination for municipalities undermined regional urban planning required for greenbelts – planning that would have increased density and efficiency in urban areas intended for homes.

The result is a lack of infrastructure and transportation like LRT while govt costs have added more than a quarter million dollars to the cost of a new home in Victoria.

Demand is coming from a very large demographic called the millennial generation. They’re getting traction in a strong economy and are at the homebuying stage.

Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research says 1.9 million millennials in the Toronto region are the largest source of housing demand. A shortfall of 70,000 low-rise homes is predicted unless supply is significantly increased.

We have similar challenges in BC, yet the govt blames and taxes out-of-province Canadians and retirees for housing shortages that were clearly predictable.

The lesson is govts can’t choke housing with taxes, regulations, greenbelts and 13 local community plans without creating housing shortages and sending prices spiraling upwards.

Add a huge generation of millennials and it’s a recipe for a housing crisis.

It’s long overdue for Boom, Bust & Echo to be on the BC govt’s reading list.

(VRBA’s CFAX radio ad and webpage opposing the Speculation Tax is here.)

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist. 

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