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Govt Regulations Add Quarter Million Dollars

A new study by the CD Howe Institute says govt regulations add more than a quarter of a million dollars to the cost of new homes in Victoria.

Restrictions such as zoning regulations, development charges, and limits on housing development dramatically increase the price.

The cost to homebuyers in Victoria is $264,000 and rising.

A recent Australian study also identifies zoning as a major contributor to high housing costs. They say, “Zoning raised prices 73% in Sydney, 69% in Melbourne and 42% in Brisbane.”

Greenbelts are another challenge says the C.D. Howe Institute. Supply is constrained unless more density and efficient development processes are implemented in areas intended for housing.

Yet the BC govt refuses to require regional planning in the CRD. We have a regional greenbelt (ALR), yet 13 local plans addressing housing affordability.

Density is discouraged in many municipalities by EDPA policies & anti-development groups influencing councils, even when a project meets OCP guidelines.

New regulations like the Step Code, recently adopted by Victoria Council, will further drive up costs  in an already expensive, highly-regulated municipality.

On the other hand, Langford wisely rejected the Step Code in favour of Built Green and continues to be the most affordable and efficient municipality.

With few exceptions like Langford, govts encumber the market with regulation and fees driving up the cost of homes. They tell us where and what to build (zoning); when to build (permits); how to build (building code); and how much revenue they require.

The costs to homebuyers will rise until voters demand responsible regional planning and an end to regulations like the Step Code designed to score political points rather than efficiency and affordability.

This column is available Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper.

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