Policies On Housing #4 – Tim Louis, COPE City Council Candidate

My answers to your questions are below. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Best,
Tim

1. What do you see as the main housing challenges facing Vancouver?
Affordability. The average person is no longer able to afford the purchase of an apartment or a house. Even worse is the situation for people who are homeless.

2. What measures do you propose to address those challenges?

If elected I will propose the creation of a blue-ribbon committee to determine whether or not Vancouver taxpayers are getting good value for money from Vancouver City Council’s property endowment fund. This fund is worth over 1 billion dollars. I believe that the City of Vancouver could be using it to build social housing at no cost to the taxpayer.

3. What is your policy on housing densification?
As my mentor the late Councillor Harry Rankin said, “If it was not for development we would all be living in caves.” For me the question is not for or against development, but development for who — development for the benefit of the developer, or development for the benefit of the people who will live in it and for the benefit of the neighbourhood around it. I would like to see City Council empower neighbourhood councils to make all rezoning decisions that are above a certain size. I am not opposed to higher densification per se. It is the negatives that come with higher densification that I am concerned about, in particular, traffic congestion. We need to look at ways to allow developers to build car-free accommodation.

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

People who already own homes would be unfairly hurt by a policy that would lead to a drop in real-estate values. If the current homeowner has taken out a mortgage for say 90% of the worth of their home, and values then drop by 10%, the homeowner has lost 100% of her or his equity. I am strongly supportive of policies that would bring new housing to market at below market cost.

5. What is your own family’s housing situation?
I am very fortunate. My partner Penny and I purchased our home in 1988. It came with some wonderful tenants for whom we have not raised the rent once since 1988.


[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.]

9 responses to “Policies On Housing #4 – Tim Louis, COPE City Council Candidate

  1. Thank-you Tim!

  2. Tim Louis: “People who already own homes would be unfairly hurt by a policy that would lead to a drop in real-estate values.”

    Does that mean that, conversely, Council would actively pursue policies to shore up RE prices ?

  3. hmmmm, sounds good. Just how is he going to bring new housing below market price while keeping the current inflated real estate market? Must be some wonderland he is living in.

  4. southseacompany

    Righties or lefties… once they own a home, they want to keep values up.

    And the foolish who bought with 5% down shouldn’t be punished.. which means that those that that didn’t drink the kool-aid continue to be. Thanks Tim.

  5. pricedoutfornow

    Sure, he doesn’t want property to drop for those who already own houses. There are thousands of people out there who didn’t want Nortel to drop either (or more recently, some former darling stocks like RIM). Some politician saying he doesn’t want it to drop isn’t going to make it not. Too bad, so sad, but this is not real life. It’s dropped (nearly) everywhere else in the world, why not here?

  6. Awesome – social housing for all the homeless. That sounds like a great idea! No wonder Vancovuer’s middle class is leaving. You either have to be dirt poor or filthy rich to live in Vancouver. Maybe implement a feudal or caste system while you are at it in an attempt to preserve the status quo and keep SFH prices from falling. This is exactly what the kind of society freak fred/rusty/formula1/diablo has been looking for all along. Bottom line, vote for someone who is not long SFH’s unless you are willing to take more serious measures.

    • http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2011-11/11/content_14079266.htm

      “The Chinese government has repeatedly pledged to continue its market curbs until it reaches a “reasonable” level. It aims to bring real estate prices down to a “reasonable” level while promoting the industry’s healthy and sustainable development.

      To achieve its goal of cooling the property market, the Chinese government has enacted a number of policies, including limiting the number of homes people can own, requiring higher down payments, introducing a property tax in some cities and constructing low-income housing projects. “

  7. Can someone please explain to me why Vancouver can’t seem to do *anything* to address the affordability problem right here? Truly, it boggles the mind! Jesse’s right, somebody’s got to start somewhere. To me it looks like municipal and provincial and federal leaders are fiddling while Vancouver goes to the dump, to tweak the metaphor.

    I posted earlier this year on the fact that *China itself limits foreign ownership.* What I read was that you have to have lived there 5 years before you can buy property. Anyone out there have other facts on this? Or please correct me if I’m wrong.

    We have a huge IRONY bubble here, if you ask me.

  8. P.S. Thanks, Tim Louis, for responding to the questions. (Sincere thanks, no irony.)

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