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  #9861  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 1:34 AM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is online now
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My completely arbitrary transit/car infrastructure rating would be something like this:

Portland - car 9/10, transit 4/10
Amsterdam - car 4/10, transit 9/10
Vancouver - car 6/10, transit 5/10

Vancouver is a blend of American-style transit and European-style highways.
Metro or City? Those are two pretty different comparisons.
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  #9862  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 1:35 AM
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My completely arbitrary transit/car infrastructure rating would be something like this:

Portland - car 9/10, transit 4/10
Amsterdam - car 4/10, transit 9/10
Vancouver - car 6/10, transit 5/10

Vancouver is a blend of American-style transit and European-style highways.
And in light of Vancouver's middling ranking in both of these, the City still has one last chance to make it work; building affordable housing. The Canada Line really showed me how bad Vancouver is at this (the situation at Commercial/Broadway was my first big clue). While lambasting the car, and building a new subway line, Vancouver planners opt to only allow four to six storey buildings along most of the Cambie Corridor, some a block away from a skytrain station. And the spot they do allow high density, it's a gold-plated development out of reach to 99% of the population.
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  #9863  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 2:11 AM
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And in light of Vancouver's middling ranking in both of these, the City still has one last chance to make it work; building affordable housing. The Canada Line really showed me how bad Vancouver is at this (the situation at Commercial/Broadway was my first big clue). While lambasting the car, and building a new subway line, Vancouver planners opt to only allow four to six storey buildings along most of the Cambie Corridor, some a block away from a skytrain station. And the spot they do allow high density, it's a gold-plated development out of reach to 99% of the population.
That’s because the only way developers can afford the development fees on a tower is by building to the rich. Remember the fees are charged per a sqft so if your not selling for at least $1500+/sqft your taking a loss. Also remember that development at Oakridge has most of the profits going towards teachers.
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  #9864  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 5:10 AM
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What's annoying is that until about a year ago, Ottawa was a city like that.. good job potential and full city offerings while being affordable. But it didn't take long for the market to break here, too.

Ottawa housing prices have increased by an average of 4.5% per year for the 12 years from 2008 to 2019 (includes the 12% increase over the last 12 months). Not too bad when considered over that timeframe. And I expect we will experience another string of 1% to 2% annual increases in the future, much like from 2012 to 2016.
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  #9865  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 7:15 AM
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Vancouver honestly refuses to admit its own mistakes and instead blames outside factors. They’ve broken their own housing supply plans but no one pays attention to it likely because blaming some foreigner or criminal is easier than looking at facts or figures. Vancouver has a massive housing shortage and no data points to their being a significant magical supply of empty homes. Every home is occupied so I’m not sure where people expect homeowners to go if they sold for less. If we are planning to tax homeowners until they sell then will they just rent after so all that’s happened is they traded places? In the end vancouver doesn’t need more affordable or rental housing, it just plain needs more housing in general.

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  #9866  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 4:18 PM
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That’s because the only way developers can afford the development fees on a tower is by building to the rich. Remember the fees are charged per a sqft so if your not selling for at least $1500+/sqft your taking a loss. Also remember that development at Oakridge has most of the profits going towards teachers.
Land prices ultimately seal the fate of the the selling price of new units. With rule changes and more opend minded zoning Vancouver can encourage developers to build more modest scales developments further out along already built transit. Developers only respond to the rules that see handed to them. If people don't like thier expensive developments tell the Province and City to change the rules so the ability for more variety is able to be built. Not much one can do to bring land prices down but one can open up access to areas where there is value and under utillized land. All knew has to do is look at the comical above air photos of the sea of single family sprawl within the city of Vancouver that wraps around the ultra dense peninsula core.

Majority of large Canadian cities are facing the same issues as they are far too stubborn to think outside the box of middle scaled zoning. It didn't have to be single story homes or podium towers. For allowing for middle scaled developments where you could even get away with no elevator would create more affordable homes. Canada seems to be taking the best and worst practices from elsewhere and having them trying to intertwine with each other.
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  #9867  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 4:22 PM
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Originally Posted by osmo View Post
Majority of large Canadian cities are facing the same issues as they are far too stubborn to think outside the box of middle scaled zoning. It didn't have to be single story homes or podium towers. For allowing for middle scaled developments where you could even get away with no elevator would create more affordable homes. Canada seems to be taking the best and worst practices from elsewhere and having them trying to intertwine with each other.
Vancouver is too expensive for medium scale development to be affordable. A plot of land for a 40 unit 5 storey building might cost $10M. So that's $250,000 in land costs before you've even torn down the old building. That turns into small $800,000 condos.

Unless land prices crash, the only way to build affordable market-rate housing is to build highrises.
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  #9868  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 4:34 PM
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Unless you have a job the requires you to be in a place like Toronto or Vancouver, why the heck would you bother living there for more than a couple of years - basically, during school or your mid-20s - because you'll never get ahead there today unless you're part of the part of the top few percentiles.

Sure, you might be a dual-income-no-kids kind of person who loves the city and doesn't really give a hoot about that, but the city really pigeonholes you into a certain lifestyle.
Because when you're in your late 20s, you typically form professional networks and meet your spouse in the large and expensive city you live in. When you're in your 30s, you'd have to start from scratch with a new professional network, and you would have to find a way to move such that you and your spouse don't suffer from a career demotion. It's always harder to satisfy two people.

The other thing is that mid-sized cities that have a good cost of living often don't have a "thick" job market that allows for upward career growth in different sectors. There could be one company that specializes in what you do, but if you don't like your job, or you can't move forward with your career path unless you switch employers, then you're out of luck.
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  #9869  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 4:48 PM
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Because when you're in your late 20s, you typically form professional networks and meet your spouse in the large and expensive city you live in. When you're in your 30s, you'd have to start from scratch with a new professional network, and you would have to find a way to move such that you and your spouse don't suffer from a career demotion. It's always harder to satisfy two people.

The other thing is that mid-sized cities that have a good cost of living often don't have a "thick" job market that allows for upward career growth in different sectors. There could be one company that specializes in what you do, but if you don't like your job, or you can't move forward with your career path unless you switch employers, then you're out of luck.
This is probably the biggest thing keeping me in Vancouver, plus my social connections in the city. Moving a long distance also really expensive. I own my place so I'd have to sell it and buy something else. For me to move there has to be a really big payoff.

I like living in Vancouver and I don't feel like I'm suffering or anything like that but I believe the common assumption that it's easy for people to just pick up and move if they get priced out of their region is wrong. I also believe that many people are suffering mental health costs because of their poor social connections, and that this receives little to no attention.
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  #9870  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 4:50 PM
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Vancouver honestly refuses to admit its own mistakes and instead blames outside factors. They’ve broken their own housing supply plans but no one pays attention to it likely because blaming some foreigner or criminal is easier than looking at facts or figures. Vancouver has a massive housing shortage and no data points to their being a significant magical supply of empty homes. Every home is occupied so I’m not sure where people expect homeowners to go if they sold for less. If we are planning to tax homeowners until they sell then will they just rent after so all that’s happened is they traded places? In the end vancouver doesn’t need more affordable or rental housing, it just plain needs more housing in general.

The truth is the lawmakers refuse to look at creating sensible planning policies largely because now that all the low hanging fruit of parking lots and industrial land conversions are gone the politically sensitive task of upzoning sleepy single family areas is something they have no appetite for. So, until the market runs into a complete circus like San Francisco they will continue to blame shadowy investors and the Chinese as it just easy to do.
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  #9871  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 4:55 PM
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Vancouver is too expensive for medium scale development to be affordable. A plot of land for a 40 unit 5 storey building might cost $10M. So that's $250,000 in land costs before you've even torn down the old building. That turns into small $800,000 condos.

Unless land prices crash, the only way to build affordable market-rate housing is to build highrises.
There is always deals to be found with land. Vast tracts of underutilized land still exist. What creates the hindrences is the inability to get the density allowances to make the project feasible. There is no need for 40/unit towers. 12 unit walkups from a simple 3 plot assembly is enough (done at scale).

Even allowing stacked townhomes and duplexes as of right would be a massive plus to supply. You can get these structures up quickly and cheaply and many develwowpes would transition to the speed and scale of these typologies of the slow game of massive podium towers.
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  #9872  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2019, 5:04 PM
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There is always deals to be found with land. Vast tracts of underutilized land still exist. What creates the hindrences is the inability to get the density allowances to make the project feasible. There is no need for 40/unit towers. 12 unit walkups from a simple 3 plot assembly is enough (done at scale).
What are examples of these vast tracts of available land in metro Vancouver? What's the land price per acre? Most of the cheap stuff is ALR land and it's cheap because it cannot be built on.

The 3 plot assembly you are proposing has exactly the economics I pointed to earlier. 3 lots in Vancouver cost around $3M and up, for a land cost of around $250,000 per unit. Go out to Chilliwack and it'll still cost you over $1M. The median household in metro Vancouver has an income of around $75,000 and for that level of income affordable housing is in the $250,000-300,000 range.
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  #9873  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2019, 5:29 PM
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Yea I live in West Coquitlam/Burquitlam and the houses on our street have all been bought up and are currently being ripped apart so redevelopment can start, each house was bought for $4 million, so 4 lots is $16 million. Thats not cheap.

Two of the houses are supposed to be replaced by a 17 storey rental building. 4 of the houses are being replaced by some 6 storey condos.
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  #9874  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2019, 7:20 PM
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  #9875  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2019, 8:43 PM
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Originally Posted by misher View Post
Vancouver honestly refuses to admit its own mistakes and instead blames outside factors. They’ve broken their own housing supply plans but no one pays attention to it likely because blaming some foreigner or criminal is easier than looking at facts or figures. Vancouver has a massive housing shortage and no data points to their being a significant magical supply of empty homes. Every home is occupied so I’m not sure where people expect homeowners to go if they sold for less. If we are planning to tax homeowners until they sell then will they just rent after so all that’s happened is they traded places? In the end vancouver doesn’t need more affordable or rental housing, it just plain needs more housing in general.


I agree with this especially your last sentence. It is a simple supply and demand scenario. Demand is high because the number of new people coming to the city increases every year (and has been for at least a decade). I think the amount of "dwellings" being constructed is increasing too, but it is not keeping up with demand.
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  #9876  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2019, 10:15 PM
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What are examples of these vast tracts of available land in metro Vancouver? What's the land price per acre? Most of the cheap stuff is ALR land and it's cheap because it cannot be built on.

The 3 plot assembly you are proposing has exactly the economics I pointed to earlier. 3 lots in Vancouver cost around $3M and up, for a land cost of around $250,000 per unit. Go out to Chilliwack and it'll still cost you over $1M. The median household in metro Vancouver has an income of around $75,000 and for that level of income affordable housing is in the $250,000-300,000 range.
Outer suburbs like Maple Ridge and Surrey have land costs of $4m-$5m per acre if we're talking about the older bungalow and split level homes. Replacing those with stacked townhouses or 4 storey apartment buildings could be done at a cost of around $75,000 for a 750 sf unit. That's certainly better than highrises which according to you cost $550,000 to just to develop (not including land costs). Even in the more inner suburbs like Burnaby you can find properties with old homes at around $8m-$10m per acre, and around $12m-$15m per acre in the more affordable parts of the city proper. $12m-$15m is too expensive for stacked townhouses but something like this might work:
https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.47337...7i16384!8i8192
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  #9877  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2019, 10:20 PM
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Places like Vancouver have {and continue to} build housing at record levels that far exceeds their population demands and yet prices are ridiculous. You can built endlessly to increase supply but it down't do any good if those units are too expensive for the average earner and are bought up en masse by investors, money launderes, and passport buyers.
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  #9878  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2019, 10:31 PM
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I was reading recently about some developments going up in West Hollywood/LA, and one of them was a site where a gas station was being replaced by a 200 or so rental building on a former gas station, they paid $7.5 million for the site in Hollywood, Another was a fast food place also being replaced by a large rental development and they paid $10 million for the site also in West Hollywood.

In Vancouver a gas station on Georgia went for $72 million, another site went for $245 million. Land prices are ridiculous in Vancouver.
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  #9879  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2019, 11:11 PM
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Places like Vancouver have {and continue to} build housing at record levels that far exceeds their population demands and yet prices are ridiculous. You can built endlessly to increase supply but it down't do any good if those units are too expensive for the average earner and are bought up en masse by investors, money launderes, and passport buyers.
I completely disagree. People don't buy homes and leave them empty, Vancouver has its own empty home tax data showing this happens less than 3% of the time.

So if someone buys a home and lives in it, we reduce demand by 1. Developers generally build what the city tells them to and to cater to who buys it. If people are buying then the price set is affordable.

There is no data supporting that money launderers or foreigners are a significant portion of sales over the past few years.

If we build 10,000 condos at $1,000,000 and they all sell, then this solves 10,000 demand and gets 10,000 people into condos. This helps reduce the demand and as those people move into 10,000 condos they usually free up lower tiers of housing for those poorer than them.

You cannot blame investors, money launderers, passport buyers, etc. for a simple problem where supply does not meet demand. In addition, its not like something significant has changed from 1990, we had foreign buyers, investors, money launderers, passport buyers, etc back then too. What we must ask is what changed from 2015-2018 to cause our housing to skyrocket? I'd say 3 things: low interest rates, a great economy, and our supply of homes ran out and thus we could not meet demand.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...alth_per_adult
Canada is 8th in the world for median wealth and 9th for mean wealth per adult. For median wealth the only nation with a bigger population above us is France. We're pretty damn wealthy and should stop thinking that foreigners have more money than us. In Canada the median wealth per adult is $140,000 CAD and in Metro Vancouver its $1,780,000. That means the average household in Metro Vancouver has almost 10x more wealth than the average Canadian household. And btw only 25% of Vancouver is Chinese so there's definitely a lot of wealthy white trust fund families. So no duh there is more competition over real estate than other Canadian cities.
https://www.macleans.ca/economy/mone...munities-2019/

It never made sense to blame foreigners or Chinese as Richmond has a lot cheaper real estate than Vancouver despite having double the amount of Chinese proportionally.

Last edited by misher; Oct 15, 2019 at 11:24 PM.
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  #9880  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2019, 11:23 PM
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Uh, the significant change from 1990 was the explosion in shady money flowing out of Mainland China.

It is charming how naive some are in believing that buyers who risk penalties as high as execution for smuggling wealth out of China will be forthright and honest in filling out an Empty Homes Declaration.
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