Crystal ball on affordability

Experts, industry and politicians will gaze into the crystal ball on housing affordability Wednesday evening.

The second annual HM Commercial Group Crystal Ball Report will be released, bringing stakeholders together for a conversation on how government policy affects outcomes for families.

Supply, demand and how these affect housing affordability will be discussed by BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, Andrey Pavlov from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, and Marshall McAnerney, Jeff Hudson and Meghan O’Mara of HM Commercial Group.  

“The lack of affordable housing choices in our communities is one of the most common complaints I hear and one of the most serious issues facing B.C. residents," says Wilkinson. "Rather than downloading costs to municipalities, we need to be working with them to help cut the red tape that slows growth and adds additional costs to housing growth."

"Our intention is to create a thought provoking evening and communicate that our market is healthy but that we can learn from other cities and communities around the world who have had similar supply issues and that have successfully implemented solutions," adds Marshall McAnerney, principal and co-founder of HM.

Andrey Pavlov of the Beedee School of Business has done significant research on the subject.

“You make housing difficult to build, the price goes up," says Pavlov.

"Seattle built 17,450 rental housing units in 2018. Now compare this to Vancouver’s mere 1,364 units (four projects) in the same year.... Just like you would expect, rents in Seattle are softening and you can actually find a reasonable place there.

"The province introduced the controversial Speculation and Vacancy Tax specifically with the goal of inducing owners of empty homes to rent or sell, either way increasing supply. So even our current leaders understand that increasing supply is key to improving affordability. It’s just that they want to do it using your home, while continuing to maintain countless obstacles to actual supply increases. “

The group will release their findings Wednesday, during a private event at the Laurel Packing House in Kelowna.

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