Retaining Vancouver’s Vibrancy in the Face of its Real Estate Reality

City Conversations

Discussing the ellephant in the room – Vancouver’s real estate market

At yesterday’s City Conversations, the three panellists and all of the participants who spoke agreed that foreign investment is driving Vancouver’s real estate market through the roof. The panellists consisted of Tom Davidoff, a business professor at the Sauder School of Business, economist Rhys Kesselman, and Kathy Tomlinson, an investigative reporter who recently broke the shadow flipping story – another reason home prices have appreciated so much in the last few years.

The room was full, and it seemed that most participants felt quite strongly about the causes of the situation and what should be done. Both of the economists have spent significant time reviewing our current tax environment and have created proposals for the City – changes that would help reign in the skyrocketing housing prices and create an environment that encourages local ownership.

Emotions are high, the millennials are leaving, and the future of Vancouver’s vibe is at stake.

But, the question no one has yet been able to agree on is what we (average Vancouverites) can do about it.

Regardless of what is decided or done (or not done and just talked about), Vancouver will continue to be one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. So what, then, can we do to make this city a place where students, new immigrants, and people like you and me can still be a part of the landscape?

D+A comes from a perspective that some of the best ideas come from the very people that governments and local organizations are trying to provide for, accommodate or manage. For this reason, I propose that a city-wide engagement exercise could be a way to gather great ideas on what to do with our reality.

What do Vancouverites think should be done to make our city a place that they can afford, a place where they can live? We might get some pretty fabulous ideas.

What do you think?