Limited supply has been identified by CMHC and other industry groups as the main source of high housing prices.
This is a fundamental principle of economics. Low supply and high demand increases prices, while high supply and low demand reduces prices.
Limited housing supply is directly linked to a lack of available land.
For example, Toronto established a greenbelt around the city to prevent urban sprawl and protect farmland.
BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) achieves similar goals.
These policies limit supply and boost land and housing costs unless balanced by development-friendly policies in other areas.
However, that balance is rare since BC policies also undermine regional planning and affordability.
Among the CRD’s 13 municipalities, only 3 are responsible for 77% of new homes.
Supply is often obstructed by municipal regulations and anti-development groups in our Urban Containment Boundaries (UCB’s) intended for housing.
Obstructions include costly permit fees and amenities, slow approval processes, opposition to increased density, and new regulations like the Environmental Development Permit Area used to deny building permits despite no evidence of sensitive ecosystems.
Housing is caught in a squeeze between greenbelts and rising government restrictions in UCB’s.
Ironically, these restrictions only place more pressure on greenbelts.
To achieve reasonable supply, government must become more development-friendly in areas intended for housing.
This requires proper regional planning, Best Practices for community groups, municipal accountability for processing times and fees, and a moratorium on BC building code regs offering minimal benefit – like the upcoming Step Code.
Show this column to your BC election candidate, change needs to start with provincial policy.
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