Last night, a sold out crowd congregated at SFU Woodward’s to listen to a panel talk about “foreign investment in Vancouver real estate.” It’s a subject I’ve covered here over the last year.
What was revealed is that Vancouver appears to have about 7,500 more vacant housing units than what would be expected in most other Canadian cities. For Metro Vancouver, there are around 15,000 to 20,000 more. To arrive at this conclusion, UBC planning professor Andrew Yan analyzed 2011 census numbers to try to add more information to infamous debate around Vancouver being an offshore investors’ holding tank. Is this the case or are many of the unoccupied units simply “second homes” for local investors (e.g. snowbirds who live in Palm Springs half the year).
One thing is clear to me…developers are operating businesses and, as such, will continue to build for the highest bidder. Often, this is an investor who can afford a holding or vacation property in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Because of this, families will continue to be priced out of the Vancouver real estate market. What does this mean for the notion of community and neighbourhood in these areas?
Here’s what it means…community and neighbourhood will cease to exist.
Will Vancouver move towards being a city that is for tourists and investors only? Are we already headed in that direction?
What are your thoughts?