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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 8:22 PM
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Originally Posted by flar View Post
I just have to laugh when I hear people talking about a "free market" and "let the markets decide" and that the "market will correct itself"
I have to laugh at people thinking that the same governments that created the problem know how to fix it. The governments involvement almost always causes more damage then good. This housing crisis is due to government policies of low rates, home ownership programs etc. Foreign ownership is a minor player but makes a nice boogie man, it's easier to blame others then ourselves. Must be lots of Asians moving to Regina where prices have ~tripled in the last decade.
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  #22  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 10:08 PM
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Must be lots of Asians moving to Regina where prices have ~tripled in the last decade.
Salaries have also increased and unemployment is down. Between Potash becoming a big deal and the introduction of oil drilling (billions in capital investment); high salary jobs in Sask have started to appear in large numbers.

In 2000 Sask residents were emmigrating to Alberta, since then many have both returned back to the province and gotten a far better paying job than before they left.


We can all express shock when Windsor prices double due to the full recovery of the auto industry and folks moving back into the area (it shrunk between 2008 and 2010).
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  #23  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by whatnext View Post
There's a good rundown on what other jurisdictions around the world do to combat runaway foreign ownership in this article:

http://www.rew.ca/articles/240
The first part of the article tries to define the problem (if there is a problem):
http://www.rew.ca/articles/is-china-...ancouver--238/

Reading this article it sounds like a large portion of the off-shore money is either after $2 M and up properties or they are in fact people who plan to move and live in Vancouver. The article also identifies the recent agreement that permits people from mainline China to more easily travel to Canada as a driver for some of the activity. That sounds like legitimate demand. I think we should be welcoming of new immigrants and investors from China or other countries. It adds to the cultural mix of Canada.
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  #24  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 11:02 PM
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We should ban foreign ownership in the resource sector.

It should be owned by Canadians.

Honestly I'm not a Communist.
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  #25  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 11:30 PM
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This development boom, and accompanying price increases, is not
about housing to meet a sudden surge in population. It is not about an
economic boom. If it was, Calgary and Edmonton would have 128
cranes, like Toronto does, building housing and pushing up all prices.
Instead, this is taking place in Toronto and Vancouver where
economies are moribund.
DF's logic is so flawed its laughable. She is trying to fit what is happening in Toronto of her preconceived notion of what should happen on the ground during economic growth. While Toronto's economy is not growing at the same rate as Western Cities. Our economy within the city is still more than respectable by Canadian Standards. Secondly, while Toronto is not seeing a massive surge in population overall, our downtown population has more than doubled within the last 10 years. And is set for even faster growth in the coming years. There has been a great acceptance of downtown living in Toronto that has not occurred to the same degree in Edmonton and Calgary, so while our economy slugs along hundreds of thousands of people are moving downtown. There is an underlying reason behind the massive amount of high rise construction in the core of the city. If there wasn't there wouldn't be any development or investment happening now.
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  #26  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by casper View Post
Reading this article it sounds like a large portion of the off-shore money is either after $2 M and up properties or they are in fact people who plan to move and live in Vancouver. The article also identifies the recent agreement that permits people from mainline China to more easily travel to Canada as a driver for some of the activity. That sounds like legitimate demand. I think we should be welcoming of new immigrants and investors from China or other countries. It adds to the cultural mix of Canada.
Even if we are talking about people who want to move here it may be bad for Canadians, particularly younger people who do not already own property and cannot cash in on the current market. It's easy to create a permanent underclass of people who can never afford property and do not have the capital to participate in investment markets that really pay off. It's not hard to imagine Vancouver becoming a city of renters with shitty service jobs where real estate is priced for foreign capitalists, because we're already halfway there.

Free trade, freedom of movement, etc. are in general good things, but it's important to remember that these ideals do not exist globally. Canadians can't immigrate to China for example and there are restrictions on the property they can purchase there. If there were zero restrictions on Chinese participation in the Canadian economy then Chinese people would effectively be privileged over Canadians.
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  #27  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 12:04 AM
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At its root, this debate comes from deep-seated xenophobia. I have seen these negative attitudes towards foreign (largely Asian) investors also get directed towards people who's homes are their permanent residence, simply on the basis that their last name sounds Chinese. There is a stereotype held by some people that "those people" are contributing to the decline of their communities by not maintaining their properties, overcrowding their homes, or simply buying homes for a quick flip.

I'm not saying that empty investor units aren't a problem, but could we just drop the attitude towards foreigners? It's not like Canadians don't engage in these practices.

Edit: I'll make a note that I'm talking to the article and the meta debate here, not to the local debate here on the forum.
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  #28  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 12:40 AM
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Foreigners? Most of the vacant buildings in my city are owned by people in Ottawa. Some guy in Ottawa bought two 100 year old hotels on my street. One burned down 18 months ago, the other has been condemned since 2009.

A guy in California owns a theatre in the north end of the city, and he has let it decay to the point that it likely can't be saved now. He won't even acknowledge the issue when the city contacts him, but he owes thousands in taxes so maybe the city can get it back.
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  #29  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 12:50 AM
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This development boom, and accompanying price increases, is not about housing to meet a sudden surge in population.
I'm no expert, but the GTA has been growing by well over 100,000 a year for at least the last decade, and there is a greenbelt policy limiting suburban expansion. Increasing density has come to be seen as a good thing in Toronto, and the downtown has gained momentum. It's now seen by lots of people as the place to be. There is a palpable sense of critical mass.

Isn't it far too simplistic to characterize the condo boom as being solely driven by foreign investors?
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  #30  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 1:13 AM
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Originally Posted by caltrane74 View Post
There has been a great acceptance of downtown living in Toronto that has not occurred to the same degree in Edmonton and Calgary, so while our economy slugs along hundreds of thousands of people are moving downtown. There is an underlying reason behind the massive amount of high rise construction in the core of the city. If there wasn't there wouldn't be any development or investment happening now.
Vancouver and Toronto are basically land-locked. In the case of Vancouver it is because of the ocean, mountains, agricultural land reserve and US boarder. In the case of Toronto it is Lake Ontario on one side and because of the size of the city. Working downtown and living out at the perimeter of the city becomes less and less viable once the city is a certain size. The two cities are growing at a reasonable click.

I live in Saskatoon, (same dynamics as Calgary and Edmonton just on a smaller scale). The city can and is growing in all four directions. There is still downtown residential development happening. However, if you want to be in a suburb it's as affordable as being in a high rise. In the case of Toronto and Vancouver, you have more people who pick downtown living because the alternatives are not as affordable or involve a long commute. There is nothing wrong with that, the great cities of the world all have this same trade-off. In New York you can live in Manhattan (which many can't afford) and be in the centre of the city of you can live on Long Island and spend a lot of time commuting.

Our biggest problem in Saskatoon, is a shortage of people to fill job vacancies. We have the provincial government trying to solve the problem by sending trade missioning to different parts of the world looking for immigrants. Foreign investment and immigrants are a positive.
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  #31  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 1:51 AM
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Vancouver and Toronto are basically land-locked. In the case of Vancouver it is because of the ocean, mountains, agricultural land reserve and US boarder.
I think commute times are a huge part of it. Toronto and Vancouver are pretty difficult cities to get around in, and if they are able to many people will spend a lot of money to save themselves an hour of commuting every day. Nice neighbourhoods also fetch a huge premium because not many new ones are being built.

The other simple reality is just that detached houses don't scale well in larger cities, particularly if there's limited public investment in highways and if employment is centralized. As a city like Vancouver grows, it's perfectly natural to expect the price of detached houses to skyrocket because well-located detached houses are very limited in supply. Some US cities like Dallas are large and mostly cheap detached housing but they have tons of land, tons of highways, and don't seem very attractive.

Condos are a bit different, but expensive neighbourhoods like Vancouver's West Side have restrictions on what can be built. If there were zero restrictions on condo and apartment highrises we would see lots of construction in desirable neighbourhoods and the prices of condos would plummet (houses would probably go up since they'd become scarcer and would be priced for developers).

None of the simplified views of the housing market are correct. The reality is that a whole bunch of factors are coming together to make the situation what it is.
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  #32  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 1:54 AM
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The foreign Ownership debate is a red herring. Foreign buys in Canadian RE still make up a small modest percentage plus these buyers are subject to more strict funding requirements them typical Canadians. Cheap credit and next to nothing downpayments have made housing unaffordable for most Canadians not outside investment.

The market will correct itself. I can't say it is a "free market" tho. No western Economies are, yes credit and money can move freely amongst different markets and regions but to say for example the Canadian property market is "free" is a joke. The Govt has underwritten the current boom. Banks would not be handing out these loans in a free system where they would be subject to the losses. Banks are handing out record loans to Canadians because they understand they are backed by the Govt via CMHC. If the Govt removed CMHC loan guarantees the banks would be forced to demand collateral which mirrors what foreign investors must pay (25-35% down).

Simply put Canadians are pricing themselves out of homes. Its always convenient to place blame elsewhere but current home prices are largely are own creations and can't be stuck on foreign individuals you can't put a name or face to.
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  #33  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 1:56 AM
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In my experience, the high prices in Vancouver are less driven by foreign investors and more by development rules which mean not enough supply comes online for the amount of demand that exists. Too much of the available land is taken up by single family home neighbourhoods which can't be developed into anything else because they are communities, and the sites that can be redeveloped are zoned for lower heights than would be built without the zoning. This is because Vancouverites like their city the way it is and want to maintain the look and feel. What they don't realize is that by not allowing anything but gorgeous, short condos to be approved, they're the ones responsible for driving up the prices, not the mythical hordes of Chinese investors who are in reality only a small and not very imporant piece of the equation. NIMBY's don't actually want affordable housing in anything but theory, which leads to a city of nothing but nice neighbourhoods and nowhere for low income people to live. Do you think if someone wanted to erect apartment slabs in say Marpole on single family homes that anyone would allow that? No, and as gorgeous a city as the bylaws will create, no party can realistically aid a neighbourhood in going from upper middle class to lower income, no matter how badly the region needs an area like that.
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  #34  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 2:07 AM
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
What they don't realize is that by not allowing anything but gorgeous, short condos that are only viable when they cost an arm and a leg to be approved, they're the ones responsible for driving up the prices, not the mythical hordes of Chinese investors who are in reality only a small and not very imporant piece of the equation.
I don't think Vancouverites in general are confused or ignorant, I think you are talking about two different groups of people. Property owners want their housing prices to go up and want their neighbourhood to stay as it is so they love development restrictions. Those who wish to buy but do not own, on the other hand, stand to lose from development restrictions and high prices.

Unfortunately I think the development process in many cities is slanted heavily toward current residents. In some areas it's even worse because on top of the development restrictions some cities and provinces have added assessment caps -- so the old owners get hundreds of thousands of dollars in housing appreciation but new buyers paying the inflated prices also pay more in taxes. It's a totally perverse system driven by the myth of "grandma" getting pushed out of her home. Nobody points out that grandma's a millionaire.
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  #35  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2012, 2:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
In my experience, the high prices in Vancouver are less driven by foreign investors and more by development rules which mean not enough supply comes online for the amount of demand that exists. Too much of the available land is taken up by single family home neighbourhoods which can't be developed into anything else because they are communities, and the sites that can be redeveloped are zoned for lower heights than would be built without the zoning. This is because Vancouverites like their city the way it is and want to maintain the look and feel. What they don't realize is that by not allowing anything but gorgeous, short condos to be approved, they're the ones responsible for driving up the prices, not the mythical hordes of Chinese investors who are in reality only a small and not very imporant piece of the equation. NIMBY's don't actually want affordable housing in anything but theory, which leads to a city of nothing but nice neighbourhoods and nowhere for low income people to live. Do you think if someone wanted to erect apartment slabs in say Marpole on single family homes that anyone would allow that? No, and as gorgeous a city as the bylaws will create, no party can realistically aid a neighbourhood in going from upper middle class to lower income, no matter how badly the region needs an area like that.
Hogwash. Despite the American economic slowdown there are still many US cities that are growing, yet you don't see the outrageous price increases we're getting in Vancouver and Toronto. There is absolutely nothing going on in either city economically underpinning these increases.

Anyone who considers Chinese buyers in Vancouver "mythical" obviously hasn't been to a new project opening or to an single family open house here.
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  #36  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 4:20 PM
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Originally Posted by caltrane74 View Post
We should ban foreign ownership in the resource sector.

It should be owned by Canadians.

Honestly I'm not a Communist.
OK, sure.

But have fun raising capital from a country that has fewer people than California.
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  #37  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 4:38 PM
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^^of course, we don't really need to go hog wild and exploit all our resources as fast as possible.
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  #38  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 7:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Boris2k7 View Post
At its root, this debate comes from deep-seated xenophobia.
Nonsense .

The problem is that foreigners ARE buying up houses , not living in them , and causing prices to rise to a level that can't be afforded by the majority of people seeking a home . Could it be that maybe , just maybe , the reason people are frustrated by this is because they're reaching a point where owning a home , any home , has become an unattainable dream ?
I also happen to live in China where a lot of Canada's foreign property investors originate . I think perhaps that it is you who doesn't understand the culture you're dealing with . China had to put a stop to its own people flipping properties and driving affordability out of reach for even the middle class . About a year ago , Beijing introduced rules that specifically stated a housing unit had to be occupied for a specific period of time before it could be resold . Those investors needed somewhere new to put their money and while Vancouver and Toronto are hardly untapped markets for Chinese investors , Beijing simply shifted the problem onto countries like Canada .

I realize that you had this message of racism and sexism hiding behind every tree drilled into you through years of public education but you don't need to look past the forest to see the trees . Homes are too expensive and a lot of the reason in certain markets is because foreign investors are flipping properties . It wouldn't matter who was flipping these properties , it's the fact that it's happening at all that's pi$$ing people off .

More on topic , however : Overheated markets are not beyond the bounds of federal regulation amendments . While we may insist that the market should be allowed to correct itself , a lot of damage could be done while we wait for just such a correction . Exactly what can or should be done would be best served by local administrators rather than federal regulators dealing with the problem . While we don't want to curtail investment , if the investment is actually harming the local economy by driving workers away , I think a case can be made for some level of government interference .
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  #39  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 9:38 PM
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OK, sure.

But have fun raising capital from a country that has fewer people than California.
We should adopt the model of First Nations reserves, where no one but the Federal Government is allowed to own land! It's working so well for them!
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  #40  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 10:18 PM
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Canadians can't immigrate to China for example and there are restrictions on the property they can purchase there. If there were zero restrictions on Chinese participation in the Canadian economy then Chinese people would effectively be privileged over Canadians.
Not really. China does have a residency requirement for property purchases, but foreigners who have lived in China for more than one year ARE permitted to buy any residential property they choose.

Foreigners can also get permanent residence in China, though the number of foreigners who actually do so is very small as the process, as with many issues involving the government here, is quite convoluted.
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