Political inaction at the root of affordability crisis – study

by Ephraim Vecina18 May 2016
A lack of political will has allowed foreigners to garner undue influence and essentially price domestic buyers out of Canada’s real estate markets, a recent study argued.
 
The report by Josh Gordon, an assistant professor at the Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy, placed the blame for the affordability crisis on the unwillingness of the federal administration in general, and the British Columbia government in particular, to limit the inbound flow of foreign money.
 
Overseas buyers’ access to enormous funds has virtually removed local buyers from the game, and decisive government intervention is in order to level the playing field, the study said.
 
“People recognize what’s going on, and they’re willing to call a spade a spade,” Gordon said in the report, as quoted by the Financial Post.
 
“By linking the crisis unambiguously to foreign ownership and investment, documenting the major harms of the affordability crisis, and proposing a policy route out of the current mess, the report hopes to harness the city’s resentment and dispel its resignation,” he added, stressing the crucial role that informed residents could play in making their leaders act promptly.
 
Gordon noted that the knee-jerk allegations of racism when the prominence of wealthy Chinese investors in Vancouver’s housing sector is raised have clouded the discourse, preventing authorities from holding foreign nationals accountable for unrestrained home price growth.
 
“[This] is where the evidence points, not because of some anti-Chinese animus,” the analyst said.
 
According to the city’s real estate board, the average price of a single-detached house in Vancouver swelled by 30 per cent on a year-over-year basis to breach the $1.4-million-mark last month.

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