Policies On Housing #2 – Joe Carangi, NPA Candidate for Vancouver City Council

Here are my answers to your survey.
Sincerely, Joe Carangi, NPA Candidate for Vancouver City Council

1. What do you see as the main housing challenges facing Vancouver?
The lack of affordable housing is definitely the number one issue facing residents in Vancouver or for those who are wanting to move to our beautiful city.

2. What measures do you propose to address those challenges?
I do believe that we need to look at ways to encourage home builders to build affordable housing as part of any project City Hall approves for said developer. Also the LEED standard requirements on the building of new homes needs to be eliminated or reduced as it adds around 25% to the cost of new housing for environmental technology that is unproven (ie. Olympic Village). The City also needs to work with the Province to see if tax incentives can be granted (aside from First Time Homebuyer’s grants) to again allow for residents to purchase a new home or to make more stringent requirements for oversea buyers who buy homes for speculative investments yet chose not to live in Vancouver.

3. What is your policy on housing densification?
Housing densification has its place depending on the area in the city that this is to occur. It makes sense to build more housing units near skytrains to take advantage of this important transportation ameniity. Other areas of the City would may be ideal for such densification because it could take away from the character of the area.

4. Would you support policies that would lead to a drop in real estate

This is a tough one. As a home owner I do not want my home to drop too much in value but that said a correction is definitley needed in our city regarding real estate prices.

5. What is your own family’s housing situation?
I was lucky enough to purchase my condo in 2005 so it was somewhat affordable back then. Today, this same home would be nearly double the cost.

[This post is not to be seen as a VREAA endorsement of any of the above positions. See ‘Policies On Housing’ – The Positions Of Local Entities On The Challenges Facing Vancouver Housing‘ for an introduction/rationale for this series.]

28 responses to “Policies On Housing #2 – Joe Carangi, NPA Candidate for Vancouver City Council

  1. Royce McCutcheon

    Thank you Joe for taking the time to respond.

  2. Met Joe on the 135 bus heading home. Good guy but too bad I live in Burnaby!

  3. Also the LEED standard requirements on the building of new homes needs to be eliminated or reduced as it adds around 25% to the cost of new housing for environmental technology that is unproven (ie. Olympic Village).

    Oh dear, no. Let’s not try to build in a way that could benefit the environment (and the pocket book of the buyers / renters eventually), unless we can be 100% certain that the technology works.

    On that note: Windows have been shown to leak, so as a cost reduction measurement windows will no longer be required.

    Other areas of the City would may be ideal for such densification because it could take away from the character of the area.

    Yes, I also want to live on a 100 acre farm in the middle of the city, but I sort of realize that city means density, “character” be damned.

    Ah well, NPA, play to people’s fear and selfishness. Anti-Anton leads the way.

  4. Big thanks to Joe for being so fast to respond! These are tough issues and addressing these issues are tough as well.

  5. Would like to add my thanks for Joe Carangi’s quick response. Hope other candidates will follow suit.

    Jeff Murdock — you’d asked if I had any further information about candidates, and I wanted to add that I did speak over the summer about housing issues (on the phone) to two current city councillors who are up for reelection, Ellen Woodsworth and Geoff Meggs. Ellen Woodsworth seems to understand a lot about the paucity of housing availability and affordability here, including the rental situation. Geoff Meggs is also very aware of housing issues, having been one of the forces behind the City’s recent report on housing (presented in August). I hope they’ll both respond to the VREEA questions.

  6. “As a home owner I do not want my home to drop too much in value” (…) I was lucky enough to purchase my condo in 2005 so it was somewhat affordable back then. Today, this same home would be nearly double the cost.”

    The value of his home double in 6 years, but he would not support a policy that would decrease its value by more than, let say, 10%. He is as serious about addressing housing affordability issue as your drug dealer serious about helping you to quit drugs. He’s basically saying: “screw people that were not lucky to purchase a house at a time when it was affordable, like me”.

    Public officials should be serving for the common good and not make their decision based on self interest. They should understand the damaging effects of housing unaffordability in this city. This issue is bringing the city down, and we’ll get even worse for as long as we wait to address it. It doesn’t take much to drive south of the border and see what the effects of a real estate collapse do to communities.

    We should be thankful for him to respond to the question, but I’m sorry to say that, from my perspective, he receives a fail.

    • I can totally understand his position on this one. If you won the lottery, would you support a new tax saying that everyone who won the lottery in the past year has to pay 50%? It’s for the greater good!

      Not to mention ~70% of the population owns, so in terms of helping the greater good causing prices to fall only helps ~30% of the population and hurts the other 70%. Not to mention of those 30% a large chunk have no intention of owning regardless of the price as they may be young and dont want to be tied down, or just living here for a few years, etc.

      It sounds more like if you were up for election you would be more interested in making life better for yourself rather than all of society.

      • If council is to represent its populace we would expect at least one or two councilors who would be advocating for lower prices if say 1/4 of the populace is wanting to own but can’t/won’t afford it due to high prices. 45% of households rent so it’s not so clear-cut.

        I liked the low land price question. That’s a doozie!

      • I have a few comments on what you said.

        First, he didn’t win the lottery, he bought a house. These are really different matters. In the first case, your ultimate objective is to become rich. In the second case, the objective should be to put a roof over the head of your family and leave something to your children when your time is over. Only in Vancouver do people feel entitled to become rich just because they bought a house.

        Second, nobody is saying we should tax more homeowners, I believe they are already paying their fair share. There are countless of other solutions to ease the pressure on the real estate market. Densification, as Jesse always advocates, is one of the best methods. But there are a lot more possibilities to limit speculation on this market through smart taxation for example.

        Third, while 70% of people are home owners in Canada, this number drops to 52% in Vancouver. Yes, there are 48% of renters in CoV. Amazing, eh?

        Finally, I disagree with your last statement. If I want to serve my own interest, then I start a business and try to make it successful. If I want to work for the common good, then I volunteer or I run for public office, and try to make the place I live in a better one.

      • Makaya,

        Regardless of how someone gets the bonus money, lottery or house appreciation, you still dont want to just give it up. I know he doesnt even have the money unless he sells, but it is still a percieved gain and you would have to be pretty crazy to just give it up. I wasnt saying they should be taxed more, but to support policies that would drop the value of his home is essentially just throwing potential money out the window.

        I really cant see government on any level doing anything to intentionally crash prices. The most I could see was tightening up rules to make it harder for people to get into debt. But any signifigant change and they get blamed for causing the crash.

        As far as I am concerned owning a house is not a right. Having shelter is. Rent in this city is still relativly cheap compared to owning, so anyone who can almost afford to own shouldnt have much trouble renting. Once we get to the poorer end of the scale renting becomes difficult and that is when government should step in and help as those people need it most.

        The housing market will do what it does and eventually prices will come back to reality. Higher rents is far more of a concern for society than high cost of ownership. Owning isnt as necessary, renting is.

  7. Looks like Victor Pacquette feels that increasing low-incoming housing is the way to deflate the bubble, and not through the use of property taxation http://www.reddit.com/r/vancouver/comments/lvt31/iam_victor_paquette_candidate_running_for_mayor/c2w74sm

  8. if you want votes from those here, you should advocate for free housing for every citize.

  9. Saw him today with a nice young Asian lady at the Granville Canada Line station today campaigning, though not as aggressive as those people handing out the free newspaper.

    Unfortunately my first impression was that he looked like a streaker in that trench coat.

  10. Well, I’m certainly not voting for this guy. Encouraging developers to build affordable housing as “part” of any development? Gee, thanks for throwing us a bone next to the other parts of the development that are more expensive. Who decides who gets the cheaper houses beside the expensive ones? Are you confusing affordable housing for everyone with homelessness and “part rental” accommodation in every development?

    This answer is light on any substance, clearly not thought out at all. Come back when you’ve thought of a way to stop Vancouver’s economy from going into the toilet because of all these overpriced homes from the speculative mania. FAIL.

  11. Not an NPA fan. These answers simply confirm what I already knew.

  12. naive if you think any politician gives a damn that you can’t afford a house. This is called “campaigning”

    • Diablo, just FYI: three politicians I have spoken to in the last few months (already on City Council or formerly on City Council) definitely do give a damn about who can afford to rent or own here — all three of them have either been displaced from rentals they lived in that were sold or they have relatives who can’t afford to buy here (e.g. their own children). The more Vancouver denizens they hear from who are concerned about affordable housing, the more they will see how many are in the same boat and the more they may be moved to do something about it. So cynicism may not only be futile but irrelevant here. You might also keep in mind that many people who write in to this blog could afford a house in Vancouver but are not so foolish as to buy one.

  13. by the way, someone took my user name today. it’s nice of him/her to comfort you that bubble exists.

    • This has been noted on the relevant thread.
      A very infrequent poster posted as ‘Fred’; it’s not clear that the use of your handle was intentional.

  14. Question #6 should have been “could you afford to purchase your home today at current market values?”

  15. FYI:

    This topic (in general, not the thread) is getting major play on CBC radio this morning.

  16. @vreaa & Jesse

    Love what you’ve done here. The other candidates should be inundated with emails and tweets and facebook requests to add tbeir voices to the discussion. They are very valid questions that play an important role int he future of this region.

    As a courtesy to those we’re asking for feedback from, I would suggest using a moderator approval system for comments, and try and limit them to the ones that make good responses, and raise valid questions, to the answers that were provided by representatives like Joe. It keeps the discussion in a format that allows and encourages them to respond back, and avoids off topic and off coloured comments from discouraging the other representatives to participate. I’d rather think they’re avoiding this because of the hard questions, and not the aggressiveness of the venue.

    In response to Joe’s comments. I have a hard time believing that putting downward pressure on developers costs will help at all. Price is a function of what the market will bear. If the Olympic village was built for a dollar, the developer would still be pushing the market for the highest price it could get. Alternatively, costs that are incurred from holding RE, like property taxes, have shown to be a very reliable mechanism for reducing speculation and keeping RE prices stable over long period of time. Texas makes for an excellent example.

    in 2010, residential tax rates, as a % of taxable value are 0.421% ($4.21 per $1,000).


    In London, ON, my parents house hasn’t seen much appreciation because their rate is over 3x that at 1.44%


    Grapevine, Texas is around 3.5%


    My question to Joe: would you be willing to use property taxes to try and bring Vancouver prices back to levels that are more in-line with incomes and rents in the region?



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