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The myths of affordable housing

February 16th, 2009 · 29 Comments

Monte Paulsen at the Tyee has one of the most succinct and incisive analyses of affordable housing that I’ve seen in 10 years of reporting on this topic. You can see it here.

He challenges the myth that supply alone with create affordable housing. He also challenges the one that says the government should build it all.

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  • foo

    I think you would find the comments to his analysis quite a lot more incisive. “Skewer” is a word that comes to mind.

    Here’s a blog post from condohype that is a succinct and incisive analysis of Monte’s analysis:

    http://condohype.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/gorillas-in-the-myths/

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    The reason a majority of blogger “experts” might be on the opposite side of Monte, is because they are blithering ignoramuses who haven’t the first godamned clue of how to differentiate between real estate and a radiator.

    Monte’s thesis and conclusion(s) are superb and perfectly sum up what is, truly, the single best written column on real estate by any of the local press.

    The vast majority of anti-development cranks are inflexible, secular progressive nutbars.

    Monte Paulsen is perhaps the only reason (other than Will McMartin) to read The Tyee (with any kind of frequency), which, sadly for me as an avid former reader, has devolved into a far-left wing doctrinaire rag.

    The only difference between them and the Straight, is that at least Straight openly admits to being an intolerant, left-wing trash and grab.

    Pity.

  • VHB

    “because they are blithering ignoramuses who haven’t the first godamned clue of how to differentiate between real estate and a radiator.”

    Hey AGT: Here is a challenge for you. Go cruise through the 2004-2006 archives at calculatedrisk, Ben Jones’s thehousingbubbleblog, or any of the numerous housing bubble sites in the US that were active before the peak there.

    THEN, go cruise through the NYTimes, the WSJ, cnn.com or wherever you want in the MSM.

    I can tell you this: the bloggers were right. They nailed it 100% and the MSM got it 100% wrong.

    Now, perhaps in Vancouver the bubble bloggers will be proven wrong. Time will tell. But at least for the US, you are dead wrong that the bloggers were “ignoramuses.”

    Moreover, quite frankly, I’m willing to put up my predictions for prices in 2011 against Helmut Pastrick’s, Bob Rennie’s, or any other of the ‘professionals’ that seem to be held in such esteem around here.

  • HHV

    “The reason a majority of blogger “experts” might be on the opposite side of Monte, is because they are blithering ignoramuses who haven’t the first godamned clue of how to differentiate between real estate and a radiator.”

    I haven’t seen any local real estate bloggers ever call themselves experts, have you?

    Have any of the accepted BC “expert” commentators in the MSM ever even approached accuracy in their predictions?

    I know that I need a radiator to cool the hot air that Paulsen spewed in his myths article.

  • I’m happy to say I’m not an “expert” and have never purported to be. Nothing against the experts but I’d rather not adopt the vocab. “Increased downward pressure?” Yeah, I’m out.

    I’ve read Paulsen’s article several times. If the premise is that a market correction won’t bring ownership to the affordable shelter-to-income ratio of 30 per cent, I agree. But Paulsen’s conclusions go much further. He says high ownership costs are to be passed on to renters regardless of what the market will bear; that the affordability gap could *widen* as prices fall because of income declines; and that supply and demand “doesn’t function.”

    It doesn’t add up.

    Rental rates are determined by renters’ ability and willingness to pay. That’s it. Landlords can “desire” higher rents all they want. If no one is willing to rent for the landlord’s asking price, the home sits empty.

    B.C.’s median income, adjusted for inflation, has been relatively static since 1980. (Technically, it’s gone down a little.) During this time, we’ve seen real estate boom and bust. So why, with this correction, are incomes expected to fall dramatically? They didn’t double during the boom.

    Alex and Frances, you speak very highly of this article. I value your perspectives. Should you have the time, I’d like you to elaborate on your points. I’m interested in hearing more.

  • JPW

    Alex, is is just that you are waiting for Randolph Hearst to rise from the dead and appoint Machiavelli himself as Editor in Chief for a new publication called the Tsakumis Times? What gives? Nevertheless, my only comment is to say that the Vancouver Real Estate Market is a unique one. Watching how local developers operate with all their ambition and drive while held at bay by the powers that be at City hall, the media and public sentiment (that seems to change with the wind) is fascinating. Affordable housing has and will remain a daunting challenge for anyone in political office. I think Vancouver is this strange mix of neighbourhoods; its a university town, a playground for the rich, a sink hole for the destitute to fall prey to, and a starting point for the young and ambitious to come and make their mark while others want to raise a family here. How do we build a framework for affordable housing that is flexible enough to suite the varied cityscape? What are the essential ingredients? I would suggest there has to be goodwill on all fronts. Committed developers, welcoming neighbours, a nimble government that can get things moving, and consensus among the public that affordable housing is good for everyone and not just one or two interests groups. Okay I’m done, lets see if Alex will be nice to me again this time. Maybe I should put some “head gear” on just in case.

  • Dear Hype,

    I don’t often make it a point of replying to individuals too cowardly to post under a real name. (Love Alex or hate him, at least you know who he is.) But since you have elected spread your misunderstanding to multiple blogs, I’ll try to clarify two points:

    1.) You claim, “Rental rates are determined by renters’ ability and willingness to pay.” If there were some other place for a renter to live, you might be right. But there isn’t. So as long as demand outstrips supply, renters must either pay the prices landlords set or become homeless.

    2.) You also might be right that incomes won’t fall with a minor correction. But I don’t know anyone who would call a 55 per cent drop a minor correction. Whatever factors cause a 55 per cent drop in real estate values would also have an effect on the wider economy, would reduce employment, and would therefore reduce family income available for housing.

    Finally, you claim that you’ve read one of the first three articles in a long series “several times.” Thank you for your time. But may I humbly suggest instead that you read the entire series just once?

    Monte Paulsen
    The Tyee.ca

    Today’s installment of Home for All:
    http://thetyee.ca/News/2009/02/17/LowCostHomes/

  • Dear Monte,

    I returned to this thread after having read the latest in the series. By good coincidence, I find your generous reply to my points of discussion. Thank you for taking the time. I’m following the series with much interest. In fact, I came back here to say having gone through the Options-for-Homes piece, it’s one of the best and most original I’ve ever read.

    Regardless of points of difference, the series is valuable, urgent and necessary. I wish you every success with it.

    Best,

    CH

  • HHV

    Dear Monte,

    1.) You pretend like those living in Vancouver don’t have the option of seeking housing and work outside of Vancouver. Nor do you recognize that landlords do not have carte blanche to raise rents as they see fit, whenever, wherever. True real estate investors, and not the speculators become reluctant landlords, respect that rent increases cannot exceed 4% per year unless a property becomes vacant.

    2. ) Vancouver, and BC, have seen 3 major real estate corrections in the past 30 years. Yet household incomes have remained, adjusted for inflation, basically unchanged since the early 1980s. The biggest real estate myth of all is lower real estate prices equals depressed incomes.

    Please do come back with statistical evidence for your emotional arguments when you can find them. I don’t own property, so I don’t have a horse in this race. Do you?

  • jesse

    “If there were some other place for a renter to live, you might be right. But there isn’t.”

    Monte, if there were really a rental shortage in Vancouver rents would be increasing faster than inflation. CMHC data is not an accurate estimation of the rental situation in Vancouver due to semi-legal and small time landlords making a significant and hard to track portion of the market. Garbage data in leads to incorrect conclusions.

    Sauder School of Business data that tracks rents indicates rents are falling in real terms. I don’t understand how something so hard to find isn’t seeing prices rise faster. If rentals were such a great business why has virtually no purpose-built rental housing been built in the past 20 years? Could it be because it doesn’t make sense financially?

    I wonder, then, how are today’s newly minted landlords really making a decent return. Perhaps in anticipation of selling to someone else for an even lower yield? Food for thought.

  • jesse

    Monte, for future reference, the web is full of anonymous posters such as condohype, VHB, CalculatedRisk, and others. Being anonymous does not detract in any way from the arguments they make, should these arguments be backed by sound logic and data. Nor indeed is not being anonymous necessarily a badge of distinction in the eyes of your readers.

  • foo

    Monte,

    To second jesse, anonymity is completely unrelated to credibility. The blog CalculatedRisk, for example, is the most widely respected resource for housing-related matters in the USA. Even the US Federal Reserve has quoted its data and analysis in official reports.

    I challenge you to find better data and analysis of the employment, housing and economic situation in Vancouver than VHB produced on his blog. Perhaps you could engage him in some conversations that would help clear your mind as to the true housing picture here in the lower mainland.

    Finally, here’s a little bit of common sense regarding housing and rents. Let’s say average Joe Family earns $60k/year. Let’s say they believe they can get rich speculating on condo’s. They get 0-down financing, and buy a $500k condo in the belief that real estate goes up forever. As we’ve seen the last few years, that happens all the time.

    Now let’s say Joe wants to rent his (suddenly unsellable) condo to Foo (who also earns the median $60k/year). Let’s say he needs ~$2700/month to break even. Let’s say Foo has nowhere else to stay.

    So, according to your logic, Joe will easily get the $2700/month from Foo. Well, you can’t afford $2700 in rent when your take-home is $3700 and you have a family of 4 to clothe, feed, transport etc.

    What will happen is that Foo will leave town. And there will be an empty condo. And then the rent will reduce. Significantly.

    Really, it’s time to put aside the wishful thinking and face reality.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    What I love the best about the blogger armchairists is that they actually admit that they don’t own property, and know nothing of the way a property is managed or built, but then go off and cite some damned stats (which can be manipulated to show one argument over another).

    Pay attention, jesse and HHV or HPV or whatever your name is: I am a retired developer. I have seen some great deals and have had to fall on my sword on others–badly.

    The genius of Paulsen’s argument is that demand is built in (pun perhaps intended) to a particular market. The idea that people are not limited to staying in Vancouver is a red herring. When you work in Vancouver, you don’t go off and buy a condo in North Burnaby or a house in Westwood Plateau unless you’ve got a car, can get up an hour before everyone else–and are willing to make those sacrifices.

    Largely, you want to buy as close to where you work or have any interest in. Hence, Paulsen’s argument is correct: There is only so much inventory and that market rates cannot be dictated by those who have little or no money. There wasn’t a ton of money around in the last eight years that real estate agents and financiers have been bullshitting us with the falsest of bubbles! Why would people be losing their homes (it’s happening here too, not just the States)??? But notice to effort to buy here, as close to work as possible.

    Also, there will be no rebound. Understand this: The market will not come back in any substantive way to “2003 levels” as some have predicted. It will drop significantly because it has too. Bungalows in East Van for 900K and 36 footers in Dunbar for 4M, are the hallmarks of the insanity of what was going on.

    Monte speaks to this and explains where we perhaps going based on where we are.

    I maintain that it is an absolutely brilliant piece.

  • HHV

    AG, perhaps you should read some of the blogs before you spout off about what they do and do not say about themselves. Clearly you haven’t “wasted your time” there yet.

    Why do you need to be so insulting with your name calling? HHV is short for HouseHuntVictoria. HPV is a STD. As a “retired developer” shouldn’t you act like an adult? Especially if you want us anonymous bloggers to “pay attention” and learn from you?

    Monte’s article is an emotional one that isn’t grounded in facts, figures and basic economic principles. It relies on perception to support assertions that have been proven wrong in other markets the world over and are being proven wrong in the Vancouver market right now.

    People make money in all kinds of markets. Because I choose to rent at 50 cents on the dollar and invest the difference doesn’t make me unqualified to comment on the real estate market or the fallacies being pushed by other commentators.

  • hohoho

    I found Paulsen’s article very interesting and well researched. I see some people coming here from that condohype blog to bitch about it.

    Sorry, but, most of the people on that blog are bitter, resentful renters who know little about the realities of buying and owning a condo or house in Vancouver. They spend each day arguing over just how bad things are going to really get and relish every dire article like Gollum with the Precious, while cursing anything positive or anyone with a different point of view. It’s a great site to visit if you want to convince yourself to commit suicide, or you want to convince a friend that not all Canadians are polite. Otherwise, it serves no useful purpose.

  • Jim

    I read as many local real estate blogs including this one (!) as I possibly can . Almost any blog in Vancouver is invariably about real estate. Who has real estate and who doesn’t and how much it’s worth. It’s not called housing much anymore around here.

    I also read almost every business publication that is out there from the world’s business capitals (sorry Vancouver you are not one of them). I won’t name names but I read 25 of the world’s best english language business publications every week. They are not hard to find and you can even read them for free if you go to your library or search online.

    Comparing the information available worldwide to the local Vancouver real estate information shows clearly that it is not different here from anywhere else on the planet when it comes to real estate with the sole exception of the timeline.

    Like a train thundering through the mountains, those at the head of the train (the USA, the UK) are the first to see and experience the ride.

    The reports from the head of this train are unequivocal.

    Those of us at the back of the train (British Columbia) can not actually see the terrain up ahead for ourselves so we can only believe or not the reports from the head of the train.

    When it comes to mass media Vancouver and BC are a one horse town. We all know who the predominant media force is here in BC. Frances, your bio states that you worked there for 21 years. Whether I turn on the radio, TV, pick up the local papers or even my neighbourhood paper I am getting the same message from the same Mother company over and over again in this city (and all of Metro and BC).

    The local blogs are the best source of information by which to measure the unbriddled spinning and pumping that goes on here in the “Best Place on Earth”.

    It is on the local blogs that I find the best source of commentary and ideas here in Vancouver (anonymous IDEAS are as valid as any other and often come without the consent of the Mother company so they are often more honest!) .

    So thank you to the bloggers. You are truly valued.

  • VHB

    “who know little about the realities of buying and owning a condo or house in Vancouver. ”

    It is just those realities that are about to create a generation of ‘bitter resentful owners’. Enjoy your mortgage!

  • fbula

    Hi all,

    Thanks to everyone for conducting such a spirited debate on this issue, and to Monte especially for responding on some of the points. (Not everyone who writes for a living will take the time.)

    I have been a bit mystified, I have to say, by the debate, though. Am I missing something? It seemed to me that Monte was making pretty reasonable points and ones that all of you would agree with. As I read it, he was essentially saying, If you’re waiting for the market to come back to reality and start corresponding with people’s actual incomes in this city, don’t, because it’s not going to happen. So let’s think about solutions to that.

    I’m not sure why that’s such a reprehensible viewpoint or why it’s seen as being an apologist for the real-estate industry. It’s been obvious for a long time that real-estate prices do not correspond to median wages in Vancouver, or at least not the way they do in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, or Fort Frances, Ontario.

    There’s definitely an ongoing crash, but at this point, it hasn’t even brought housing back to 2005 prices, let alone 2001. That’s because Vancouver is not a city where housing prices are set only by local incomes. There are rich people who buy here to have a secure hideout in case everything falls apart elsewhere. People from the rest of Canada retire here. Young people come here because they think it’s cool and are willing to live in pretty crazy conditions for a while. And yes, we’re a bit of a resort to the rest of the world.

    So that skews everything. It makes it more expensive to buy because you’ve got a certain group of out-of-town wealthier people bidding things up. And it makes it hard to rent because there’s more competition for certain price ranges of rentals.

    I believe that rentals in the higher ranges are probably falling. But it’s a tight market in the lower ranges. That’s why something like 25,000 Lower Mainland apartments priced between $500 and $750 a month disappeared in the last five years or so (don’t have the stats in front of me) and reappeared in the higher price bracket.

    Sure, some people will leave Vancouver because of the higher housing prices, if they can. On my block alone, in the last five years, two households I know moved — one to Nanaimo and one to Whitehorse.

    But not everyone can get a good job in a smaller town. Lots of people figure it’s better to stay in the city, where they can get some kind of job and pay high rent than to move to a smaller place where they have low rent but no job.

    Anyway, I’m happy to be educated more on this but at this point I really don’t understand those who seem to be saying — Monte’s an idiot for saying we need to find technical solutions to create affordable housing, because the market is going to fix everything.

  • HHV

    Frances, let’s see if I can shed some light for you.

    1st off, I’m not sure where any local RE bloggers have argued that prices will drop 55% or go back to 2001 levels. You can’t take random comments from people’s blogs and attribute them to the blog owners.

    2nd: “If you’re waiting for the market to come back to reality and start corresponding with people’s actual incomes in this city, don’t, because it’s not going to happen.”

    Why is this not going to happen? How can anyone make this claim without demonstrating that it is impossible? Do you really expect people to accept a say-so argument based on nothing more than the author’s beliefs without any demonstration of factual support?

    Authors were saying the same thing in California, for the same reasons. Pointing this out is not the same as calling Monte an “apologist for the real estate industry.”

    There have been plenty of times in Vancouver’s history where local real estate prices were in line with local incomes. Why was that OK then, but somehow now it’s never going to happen again? What’s different this time?

    You seem convinced that the influx of migration is responsible for the run-up in prices and that rich immigrants have created a new floor for real estate valuations. Have immigration numbers increased exponentially during the past 7 years? Or is this another “belief” unsupported by empirical evidence?

    Could the high home prices have been caused by irrational exuberance both locally and globally? Could rampant speculation have driven up prices? If this is the case, why is Vancouver somehow going to weather the economic storm better than other areas, like say Spain, or Florida, or Vegas, or Arizona etc, all so-called playgrounds for the world’s rich?

    When people stop buying properties, prices fall. Only places that sell set the market prices. If the speculator leaves the market, then only people who live and work in Vancouver will be left to buy. Those people will be forced to spend within their means. Prices will then become more in line with local incomes. How close will the two numbers converge? Who knows. But to arbitrarily state that it won’t happen without demonstrating why, using real evidence, and not commonly accepted perceptions, usually echoed by real estate marketers, is intellectually dishonest and people are right to point this out.

    I’ve read Monte’s other pieces, they’re good. His 5 myths article had problems, which have been well pointed out. Yes we need to take new steps to solve affordability problems. In the meantime, this discussion is about his “truths” or “myths.”

    Obviously some have accepted his argument, others are pointing out the lack of solid evidence in his favour. I don’t see where any bloggers have called him an idiot. And I’ve yet to see any local bloggers make the claim that the market alone will solve the affordability problem.

  • Jim

    Hello Frances..

    I agree with you that Vancouver is a resort city and that some wealthy people from around the world have property here as a hedge against the possibility that “everything falls apart elsewhere” as you say.

    There is no doubt that Vancouver and BC have an enviable quality of life and that this part of the planet is pretty to look at.

    However in order to assess whether Vancouver is truly unique in the world and that the real estate market here is truly unique in the world, one would have to assert that Vancouver is the only resort city on the planet with an enviable quality of life and reasonable security of person and property.

    Are you saying that Vancouver is on parrallel with Monaco?

    How about Miami, another resort city? Miami has fabulous weather, exotic architecture, beautiful beaches and scores of wealthy Latin American and Cuban safe-haven seekers? Miami, like Vancouver has lots of pretty cruise ships parked in its port, is a huge retirement destination and has a vibrant economy and lots of foreign wealth parked there. Are you saying that a wealthy person here in Vancouver is more secure than a wealthy person in Miami?

    Why do you think that Vancouver is so different from Miami? Miami is one of the most spectacular real estate busts in the USA right now. Some of the Vancouver real estate charts I have seen look very very similar to Miami, with only a time lag to differentiate them.

    And what about crime? Maclean’s magazine quoted several law enforcement officials in its front page article not that long ago who named Vancouver and BC one of the best places on earth for big time crime? Seen the news lately?

    How much of that crime money is being filtered through the real estate industry here, Frances?

    There is much to celebrate here in Vancouver and BC.

    Whenever I have visitors from elsewhere I am always happy to show them the wonders Nature has bestowed upon this part of the world.

    I also show my visitors the Downtown East Side neighbourhood especially after dark, all the metal bars on all the houses windows throughout the region, the tarps covering the leaking buildings and so on.

    Vancouver is now one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the rest of the world real estate markets have fallen dramatically over the last two years.

    Our market is looking more and more over-valued by the day.

    The market is going to fix this mess Frances.

    Unless Vancouver is truly the one and only place on earth that is so, so special.

    Good luck with that assumption.

  • jesse

    I second HHV. While there is some chance that Vancouver house prices will not revert to affordable levels seen in past decades, it is based upon many assumptions. I have yet to hear a cogent argument for why Vancouver prices cannot fall beyond an abstract concept of perpetual increasing desirability.

    Certainly Mr. Paulsen’s arguments are commensurate with the general feeling of high prices being de facto in this city. It is I suppose a stretch to think Vancouver is invincible to what is happening in other cities with recent price spikes, where prices are now collapsing.

    I do enjoy reading Mr. Paulsen’s articles, though perhaps it is worth him playing the devil’s advocate in a future article, at least to air the case for a sustained period of, shall we say, “below potential growth” for housing. I remain convinced many of the arguments against his assertions have validity.

    I am disappointed so many use the “you don’t got no experience” card as one of their arguments. I fail to see how this has any relevance to the facts at hand.

  • jesse

    “So that skews everything. It makes it more expensive to buy because you’ve got a certain group of out-of-town wealthier people bidding things up”

    In a normal functioning market any external demand would lead to more building to compensate. Indeed Vancouver is a normal functioning market in this respect. Units under construction are at historic highs.

    fbula, you may be right. I would encourage you to give some thought to a future reality where a generation-long housing bubble is set to burst. It is a concept so unimaginable to what most of us know as canon, yet there is a real shot of it happening.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Frances:

    You cannot explain the market to oblivious, anti-developer renters with a major chip on their shoulder, who want to own a building de facto, without one damn bead of sweat equity.

    You were great on NW this morning, by the way…

  • jesse

    AG there you go with ad hominem attacks again. You really don’t do this blog any favours with such comments.

  • fbula

    Someone wrote a comment overnight to this post (critical of my feeble thinking, I think) and I accidentally deleted it when I was killing spam. If you want to send it again, I’ll be happy to put it up.

    Anyway, thanks for all the comments back.

    I didn’t realize that the essence of the debate was that if you don’t believe that real estate prices are going to fall back to 1965 levels, then you’re a deluded fool who is buying into real-estate hype. I see the error of my ways now. I can hardly wait!!

    Okay, I’m being silly and snarky. But is it really that out of line to think that, no matter how much markets fall, housing and real estate in Vancouver are going to be somewhat more in demand, bid up somewhat more, than the same in Lumby or Salmo?

    Sure, Miami has fallen (though the far greater decreases are in the suburbs that were built furthest from the urban centres) but the cost of housing there is still out of line with the average wage of most of the working class and will be even if it falls even more dramatically. That’s the point Monte was making.

    Anyway, you’re free to send more arguments my way, but I think there’s just a fundamental difference between those who are gleefully awaiting the complete collapse of the property system as we know it and those who think that there’s going to be a pretty serious “correction,” as they call it, but not to the point where working class people can buy nice houses in the most bid-up areas — places where they need to be because they work there.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Frances-total agreement.

    jesse–learn to read, I was referring to the way you are, and not you. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what you think at this point. You’re just someone with a beef that’s found “temporary shelter”….sometimes I just crack myself up…

  • foo

    Actually Frances,

    The disagreement is between people like Monty who believe the “correction” will be shallow and temporary, and the people who maintain the 2003-2008 run-up was a once in a lifetime event, and some semblance of sanity will prevail going forwards.

    That does not mean prices will fall to the point where average worker-bee can afford a condo in Coal Harbour. It does not mean that Vancouver will stop being expensive (we all know there’s a premium for the scenery and being the only place in Canada with tolerable weather).

    Take a look at Monte’s comments relating to the article. He stated explicitly that prices in Vancouver will return to 2008 levels by 2013. It’s that mindset that frustrates those of us in the reality-based community. It’s that mindset that contributed to the mad bubble years we’ve just passed through. It’s that mindset that blithely ignores the pain and suffering that ordinary people are going through now, and will be hit with in the next couple of years.

    Alex, as it turns out, I am a home-owner, and I have put a lot of sweat in (and will continue for a long time) to get where I am with a mortgage much larger than I’d like.

    I take no glee in the coming recession. I see my friends and acquaintances being laid off, and it’s no fun. I see people losing their homes, and that’s no fun either. What’s most annoying is that people like the bloggers who Alex looks down his nose at, were warning that we needed to take steps to deflate the bubble years ago.

    If we had actually done any of the things that the “doom-and-gloom” set had proposed in 2004/5/6/7, we wouldn’t see this mess now.

    Finally, I have a vested interest in there being both affordable housing and good job opportunities in this city in the future. I don’t want my kids to have to move to another part of the world because they can’t find decent jobs here, or can’t live in a decent neighbourhood on the salaries that earn.

    The way the city has bent over for developers, with the resulting resortification of the place, might be nice for those of you who got your piece of the pie back in the “good-old days”, but it’s not a way to build a sustainable environment for the future.

    Green buildings are nice, but when you drive the working and middle classes out, that’s not very environmentally friendly.

  • fbula

    Thanks, Foo. That was actually helpful in terms of clarifying the differences.

    But one thing I’d be interested in people’s comments on — resortification is happening everywhere, whether cities “bend over backward” for developers or not. It was a major theme in a cities exhibit I saw at the Tate in London two years ago and it’s obvious, when you travel, that any place remotely attractive in the world is being resortified.

    I’d be interested in hearing what the “doom and gloom” set, as you refer to them, were proposing should be done to prevent a housing bubble in Vancouver (that was part of the international housing bubble). I for one have been interested for a while in the idea of laws that prevent speculators from buying or limits on out-of-country investors. I’ve heard of cities or countries that have those kinds of restrictions, but have never had a chance to research them.

  • Government shouldn’t and can’t afford to build or administrate it.
    They’d spend less giving the poor private non-SRO housing rents.
    “Affordable” is also relative. To whom is it affordable?

    Best

    Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco-Assisi Buday
    “A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy.” — Benjamin
    Disraeli (1804-1881), British Prime Minister