‘Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency’ Created By The City

VAHA
Candidates Should Possess Superhuman Powers and Pixie-Dust

“The City approved the creation of a new Affordable Housing Agency last night, an arms-length organization based on best practices in other cities to enable the creation of new low and modest income housing in Vancouver.

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) will also collect available data on issues such as vacant homes, and provide information on ways to limit investor speculation and unnecessary vacancies in Vancouver’s housing market.

“The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency will be a key tool in the City’s efforts to create new affordable housing that meets the needs of local residents,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “As well, by designating it as a research hub to monitor issues such as vacant homes and excessive investor speculation, the VAHA will contribute to an informed, fact-based discussion of Vancouver’s housing market.”

The VAHA will be comprised of a board appointed by City Council, which will include members of the community with expertise in real estate, non-profit housing, and tenant issues, among others. Its target is to create 2,500 new affordable homes by 2021, with 500 in the first three years, with a focus on affordable housing geared towards families.”

- from ‘Council approves new Affordable Housing Agency’, Mayor of Vancouver website, 10 Jul 2014

Above noted, for the record.
A “fact-based discussion of Vancouver’s housing market” sounds like a great idea.
That aside, it would be extraordinary for an Agency like this to make a real difference. It is very, very difficult to create genuinely affordable housing in the context of an extremely overvalued market.
This kind of initiative usually acts as a marker to remind us that people are concerned about the issue, rather than being a force for any substantial change.
– vreaa

Meanwhile…

“Fitch Ratings says Canada’s real estate market is as much as 20 per cent overpriced and cautions the government may need to take more measures to slow down borrowing on homes. Fitch is the second U.S. financial agency to sound the alarm on Canadian home prices in the past week, with the Morningstar research firm predicting a 30 per cent correction was possible over the next few years.

The latest warning comes as the Teranet–National Bank composite house price index for June showed prices rose 0.9 per cent from May and were up 4.4 per cent from last year. The year-to-year gain was the lowest in six months, but still more than twice the underlying level of inflation in Canada and above income growth. Prices were 8.1 per cent higher Calgary compared with a year ago, while Hamilton saw increases of 7.3 per cent and Toronto and Vancouver climbed 6.1 per cent. …

Whether Canada’s home prices are due for a big fall has been a hotly debated topic in Canada for several years, but as yet predictions of a housing bubble about to burst have not materialized.”

- from The Vancouver Sun, 14 July 2014

Enter Inflation, Stage Right

The Bank of Canada came under pressure on Friday to stop fretting about low inflation after unexpectedly sharp price gains pushed the rate above the central bank’s target, making it more likely the next move in interest rates will be higher.

Statistics Canada reported the annual inflation rate hit a 27-month high of 2.3 percent in May from 2.0 percent in April. Core inflation, which excludes some volatile items like gasoline, rose to 1.7 percent, the highest since July 2012, from 1.4 percent in April.

As recently as last week, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz had said the underlying rate of inflation, which he pegged at 1.2 percent, was so low it “leaves us vulnerable to a downside shock at any time.” —

“The low-inflation ship has sailed in Canada, and I think the Bank of Canada pretty much has to change their rhetoric as of the next meeting,” said Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter.

Poloz said the central bank’s policy stance was neutral, specifying that rates could just as easily fall as they could rise, using dovish language that has kept a lid on rate hike expectations and the currency.

Still, yields on overnight index swaps show rate cut expectations have largely faded.

And even before Friday’s data economists were unanimous that the next rate would be a hike. —

“We are still of the view that any moves on rates are not likely until 2015, but certainly there is now a higher probability of hikes coming sooner rather than later,” said Royal Bank of Canada assistant chief economist Paul Ferley.

- Reuters, 20 Jun 2014

Average House Price In Canada Rose 7.1% YOY

“The average resale price of a Canadian home continued to march higher, with the national real estate association showing it hit $416,584 in May, a rise of 7.1 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier.
The Canadian Real Estate Association said sales activity in Toronto and Vancouver continue to skew the average price higher. If those two cities are stripped out, the average Canadian home is worth $336,373 while the year-over-year increase shrinks to 5.3 per cent.”

CBC 16 Jun 2014

Recall:

image

Vancouver School Trustees Threaten Risk Of Property Price Drops In Debate Concerning Rights Of Transgender High School Student

A current public debate regarding the rights of a transgender student at a Westside public high school has caused elected school trustees to invoke risk to property values to shore up their bigoted side of the argument. They claimed that “senior people in the real estate industry” supported their viewpoint, but they did not name those people (and it is not clear whether any such views had actually been expressed by any real estate salespeople).

By virtue of the prominence of Vancouver RE values in this remarkable debate, we document it here, for the chronological record. Reminiscent, of course, of the UBC Hospice debate (where sanity fortunately prevailed).

By virtue of the inflammatory nature of the debate, and because we do not ride shotgun on comments on this blog every hour of every day, we have chosen to close comments for this post. It’s here simply as a marker on the very long and winding road that is the Vancouver RE saga.
Keep well all.

Peace. Love. (and moon-age daydreams of 1960’s RE valuations…)

- vreaa

Entire Vancouver Sun Blog article reproduced verbatim below:

‘Vancouver school trustees turfed after event linking real estate, unisex washrooms’
Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, 14 Jun 2014

“The Non-Partisan Association expelled two of its elected school trustees from caucus Friday after they held a news conference and claimed leading realtors are upset the school board’s proposed policies on transgender students may reduce real estate prices.

The NPA released a statement late Friday afternoon declaring it had formally expelled Sophia Woo and Ken Denike “given that the two have chosen to follow their own course in various matters without consulting with the other members of caucus.”

“The caucus has concluded that Denike and Woo do not share the same level of sensitivity and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.”

During a raucous news conference in a Chinese restaurant Friday, Woo and Denike condemned the way Vision trustees on school board are trying to bring in a policy to protect transgender students from discrimination and ostracization.

Parent Jane Wang, sitting beside Woo and Denike, said the transgender policy that is scheduled to go before the board on Monday is a threat to her two young children and those of many other parents, some of whom “were close to emotional collapse” at a recent public meeting where the transgender policy was debated.
Wang, an associate professor in engineering at the University of B.C., has already placed her two children on a waiting list for a private school.
Wang does not want them to have to deal with the possibility a transgender public-school student could, under the proposed policy, enter either a boys’ or girls’ washroom.

Asked to provide the names of what Denike said were “senior people in the real estate industry who are expressing real concerns” about the effects of the proposed transgender policy, neither Woo nor Denike would provide any names.
However, the first sentence of a release that Woo and Denike put together to draw journalists to the news conference at Flamingo House Chinese Restaurant said:
“Realtors express concern that a revised policy on sexual orientation and gender identities could negatively impact enrolment of international students and West Side students in Vancouver’s public schools.”

One parent told The Sun her friend has already returned with her child to China because of the proposed transgender policy.

Asked if realtors are concerned that foreign parents will stop buying houses or condos for their children to live in while they attend school in Vancouver, Denike said West Side realtors know there is strong “competition” for international students, whose offshore parents might avoid Vancouver schools in the future.
There are 1,170 fee-paying foreign students in Vancouver public schools, said Denike, the board’s longest-serving trustee.

Woo and Denike said the realtors they talked to were mostly concerned about “the quality of education” public school students would receive in light of what they said is a flawed, rushed new transgender policy.
But Denike, in response to a question, said the realtors may also be concerned about declining property values.

A few hours after the two NPA trustees finished their press conference, Vision Vancouver released a statement “calling upon the NPA to condemn disturbing comments” made by Denike and Woo, in which Vision maintained the trustees “suggested that support for the rights of LGBTQ students could somehow harm property values.”

School board chair Patti Bacchus, of Vision, said: “Vancouver is known throughout the world for our commitment to a learning environment that is safe and inclusive for students of all backgrounds, including LGBTTQ students.”

Bacchus urged the NPA to “apologize for in any way suggesting that LGBTTQ students or their rights could have a negative impact on our community, and I hope all NPA elected officials and prospective mayoral candidates will condemn these remarks.”

At the news conference at the Cambie Street restaurant, roughly two dozen-ethnic Chinese parents who had squeezed into a side room of the facility to support Woo and Denike clapped enthusiastically when one East Asian parent stood up and shouted:
“How would you feel if you had a daughter in the washroom at one of these public schools and a transgendered student – maybe a girl, maybe a boy? – walked in? How would you feel?”
The man, dressed in suit and tie, would not identify himself.

Visibly tearful, Enda Yua said in an interview with The Vancouver Sun her friend was so upset about the transgender policy that last week she pulled her child out of a Vancouver public school and they flew home together to mainland China.
“I’m so sad. I don’t want my friends to leave,” said Yau, who lives on the West Side of Vancouver.
“My friends say to me: ‘I feel so bad. I shouldn’t have come to Vancouver, to Canada. I thought it was a democracy.’ In the Chinese community there is very serious concern about this policy. This policy makes transgendered kids too special. It gives them an extra shell that will keep other students away from them.”

Yau said Chinese people come to Canada with “very old traditional conservative values” and that Canadian policy makers have to respect that.

Trustee Woo told the room of reporters and Chinese supporters, some of who later gave flowers to Woo and Denike, that she has been overwhelmed in the past two months by the volume of complaints from worried parents. “I’m concerned many of them will send their children to be students in other school districts or other provinces.”

In an interview Lana Liu said she has been part of a group which has gathered 4,000 signatures protesting the school board’s proposed transgender policy. While Liu said petition signers have been “mostly Chinese,” she noted some parents from Iranian, South Asian, Caucasian and other ethno-cultural backgrounds are also upset.

Bill Dick, managing broker for Macdonald Realty in Vancouver, said he is not aware the VSB’s transgender policy has become a real estate issue. “There hasn’t been any discussion in my office, and we have 175 realtors in Vancouver.”

A spokesman for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, who declined to be identified, said the first they have heard about alleged realtors’ complaints about the transgender policy was in Friday afternoon phone calls from media outlets following up Denike and Woo’s comments.”

House Painting

ken kewley - model with house

‘Model With House’ by Ken Kewley

Wage To House Price Ratio Is A Changin’

inside-llewyn-davis-trailer

Readers may have seen the 2013 Coen brothers movie ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, about a folk singer in NYC in 1961.
In a relatively early scene we hear from Llewyn’s sister that their parents’ house has been sold for “Eleven-Five” ($11,500).
Immediately thereafter Llewyn sits in on a recording session for another folk singer, playing second guitar and doing fill-in vocals on one song. For this he is paid $200 (a little under 2% of the value of a house!).
Gee, how times have a-changed.
The equivalent in our town today would be for a musician to be paid $15K-$20K for session work on one song.
– vreaa

No, Not Karl Marx; That Other Mark, Mark Carney – “Just as any revolution eats its children, unchecked market fundamentalism can devour the social capital essential for the long-term dynamism of capitalism itself.”

“Just as any revolution eats its children, unchecked market fundamentalism can devour the social capital essential for the long-term dynamism of capitalism itself,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney said. “A sense of self must be accompanied by a sense of the systemic.”

Carney said public trust had been damaged by the behaviour of banks both before and after the financial crisis. He cited allegations that the Libor interest rate benchmarks and prices on the foreign exchange market were tampered with.

“Unbridled faith in financial markets prior to the crisis and the recent demonstrations of corruption … has eroded social capital,” he warned. “An unstable dynamic of declining trust in the financial system and growing exclusivity of capitalism threatens.”

- from ‘Bank of England’s Carney says bankers should be less selfish’, David Milliken, Reuters, 27 May 2014

Related things can be said for the threats to a society of perversely low borrowing rates resulting in astronomically overvalued homes. A housing bubble devours its life-blood.
Carney was instrumental in ensuring years of mispriced money in Canada. He repeatedly threatened to tighten policy, but never walked the walk, and his words were ignored and seen as vacuous. And he never adequately leaned on those in government with direct influence on mortgage terms.
– vreaa