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Look for Affordability Solutions, Not Scapegoats

Foreign homebuyers in Vancouver are being targeted as the cause of rising housing prices, resulting in a 15% tax.

Now BC govt and municipal officials are “monitoring” foreign purchases in Victoria, only 6.3% of sales.

CMHC CEO Evan Siddall says it may be convenient for politicians to use foreign buyers as “scapegoats” for rising prices, but it is factually wrong and divisive.

Siddall says slow and obstructive municipal processes are significant contributors to a lack of supply and affordability.

“Municipal leaders talk of a housing crisis and their primary solution is to demand $12.6 billion in urgent funding from the federal government, says Siddall.  “The weak and lagging supply response in Vancouver — rezoning restrictions, density limits, development fees, and the time it takes for approval of new supply — and not just for affordable housing — needs urgent attention. If there’s a crisis, we should ALL act like it.”

In the CRD, approval of a simple building permit can take 6 to 8 weeks in some municipalities.

Communities may obstruct or rarely approve small-lot and multi-family housing, which are critical to affordability.

About 80% of the CRD’s new housing starts occur in only 3 of 13 municipalities.

Some elected officials have forgotten we only recently emerged from 6 years of a flagging economy.

In our region, the 2009 global housing crisis undermined home construction and skilled jobs until this year.

Those are the facts experienced by builders and other qualified voices in the housing industry.

Governments should avoid looking for “scapegoats” and address the real challenges.

A good start would be mandatory Municipal Best Practices for development processes, as we suggested this year to Premier Clark and Community Minister Fassbender.

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

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

 

One response to "Look for Affordability Solutions, Not Scapegoats"

  1. Bill McCance Jan 21, 2017 at 09:42

    We in the GULF Islands are also trying to construct affordable housing, which means usually there should be multiple units in one building. We profess AMVIC Insulated Concrete Forms for 50% heat savings for owners, fire and sound ratings, faster less costly builds. ICF are 5 in 1 insulated blocks which save many building processes, therefore time and money for builders and owners.

    Reply

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