It’s been an active and interesting few months on the housing file in British Columbia. There was a sharp step-back in sales in Metro Vancouver over the summer, in the wake of the retroactive 15% tax on foreign real estate purchasers. But it’s not at all clear that the long-term impact of this and other recent housing-related actions will be all that significant.
The problem is that we’re trying to regulate – and, ironically, tax – our way to affordable housing; and with an almost exclusive focus on decreasing demand. But even if we brought foreign investment in Metro Vancouver real estate to a full stop, what about the tens of thousands of new households that will be formed through population growth in the years to come?
Among the ranks of those struggling to find acceptable housing here are a growing number of pro-housing “Yes-in-my-Backyard” or YIMBY activists. And they are calling for an at least equal focus on the crucial supply side of the equation.
In this Monitor, we detail how intense the supply-demand imbalance has become, and we identify some of the ways of moderating it. Certainly a reduction in the large municipally imposed regulatory burden has to be part of the solution, since research demonstrates that housing supply is particularly sensitive to added delays and uncertainty. Read more