The Urban Development Institute recently introduced an exciting new forum for discussion: More Homes for More People.
This came by way of a challenge to the wider industry by UDI (and Intracorp) President, Don Forsgren, to work together and address the province’s growing housing affordability challenge. Our region is currently shouldering the contradictory title of one of the most livable places in the world, while at the same time being one of the least affordable for housing.
Some argue that prices are being driven up by market speculation. Some think it’s the result of continued foreign investment into local communities, where real-estate is seen as a safe bet with very competitive yields compared to other international options. Others blame municipal bureaucracy and excessive charges, which add uncertainty, risk and financial drag to projects, and these costs, are ultimately handed down to the buyer at the end of the day.
Some few might simply attribute this to the natural amenities and conveniences that we enjoy here in ‘Super, Natural British Columbia’. This is a wonderful place to live, and perhaps the high cost of housing is an entry fee to the party…
Whatever your personal reading of the situation is, one thing is clear: many people in Vancouver are now facing a serious trade-off. This is a great place to build a career, enjoy a rich and diverse lifestyle, and raise a family. However, this continues to be a tough place to get a foothold in the housing market. Many of us know someone who has packed up and moved away from B.C. in search of a more affordable place to call home. We also probably know many more people who are seriously considering leaving as the only viable option left available to them.
What some may term as a housing affordability crisis, should be seen as an opportunity not to be wasted. Our industry is uniquely positioned to be able to work together with our municipal colleagues, and our customers, to ensure that we remain viable as a provider of more homes, for more people.