Policies On Housing #6 – “Mayoral candidates Gregor Robertson and Suzanne Anton each said they would not put limits on foreign investment, which many observers believe is behind skyrocketing real estate prices in Vancouver.”

“At a public debate last week, both Robertson and NPA leader Suzanne Anton said neither would put limits on foreign investment, which many observers believe is behind skyrocketing real estate prices in Vancouver.”
– from Stephanie Ip, 24hours, 13 Nov 2011


[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.]

25 responses to “Policies On Housing #6 – “Mayoral candidates Gregor Robertson and Suzanne Anton each said they would not put limits on foreign investment, which many observers believe is behind skyrocketing real estate prices in Vancouver.”

  1. No surprise, first cynically that it is a big risk politically given the support bases, second because it is far from clear what council could do if they campaigned on it. Most likely the three major parties called an armistice.

  2. Just creating “rational expectations” that one of the parties finds the idea worth investigating should be enough to change market sentiment. I hate to promote political candidates, but in this case, Sandy Garossino is a pro-housing bear vote!! Yes we can!!

    • Yeah it’s interesting how she is quietly getting endorsements from various city leaders. It’s uncertain how much council can do about it. There are a few scenarios whereby restricting foreign ownership might piss off people in unexpected ways.

      • And there is likely a few scenarios where this will cause many people to rejoice. Believe it or not, I own my own home, but I really want to see something like this enacted. (I’m ethnic Chinese btw). The writing is on the wall and for anyone who loves this city should clearly see this type of negative market externality requires some kind of intervention, or we’re going to hell in a handbasket pronto.

  3. damn RE bears, stealing our house equity

  4. not sure how you’re going to restrict foreign ownership. We can’t encourage people to immigrate here then tell them they can’t own their home.
    Seeking to curb “foreign” ownership can only be done by curbing immigration…in other words, it’s never gonna happen

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      Can someone clear this up, if you are landed immigrant, but no citizenship yet, are you still considered a foreign owner?

      Plus, actually all of my coworkers that are new immigrants RENT. I know its amazing, why would people with above average pay throw money away renting.

      • I would be very surprised if permanent residents were considered foreign owners. Permanent residency is just one step from getting Canadian citizenship.

        I don’t even think people who are employed and living in Canada are counted in the stats as “foreign owners.”

        A foreign owner would be someone who buys a condo in Whistler for a vacation house. Or a Canadian who purchases a house in Florida for vacations.

      • Hi, a close friend, an American physician who moved here from Seattle two years ago (I know that comment will raise a few eyebrows, lol) just received his landed immigrant status. He tells me that in the eyes of the government he is no longer considered a foreigner regarding property, taxation, and such. Btw, he and his partner do rent and they both earn an above average income.
        If you are interested in a different perspective, and because I have seen a few comments posted here and there about physicians leaving Vancouver/Canada for the USA, he would tell you that working as a physician in Canada is FAR better than most any other country. And within our circle of friends there are eight american physicians who have
        made plans to apply for landed immigrant status.
        no intertion of leaving Vancouver

    • Putting restrictions on foreign ownership happens EVERY DAY in other countries! Including China! Where apparently you have to wait five years before acquiring property. In other countries the restrictions take the form of higher taxes. It’s nonsense to say you have to curb immigration in order to place some (reasonable) restrictions on foreign ownership.

    • Sometimes foreign is foreign. To take just one example, I looked at an apartment on the UBC campus this summer, and asked of the agent, as always, who owned the apartment and whether his/her plans might include someday living in it. Her answer was, “He is in China; he is not coming here.” Or another: I also looked at a house owned by, the agent explained, a mother and daughter who owned several houses in Vancouver but lived in Hong Kong — always had and, as far as the agent knew, always would.

      • This is the type of thing that foreign ownership restrictions prevent. For instance, in Australia, a foreginer who is approved to buy property as his principal residence must then sell before leaving the country. Permanent resident status allows the government to tax the foreigners income regardless of source. Non-residents are simply not allowed to purchase resale homes with land. Pretty common sense if you ask me.

        Again, Australia gets it, Canada is clueless and a slave to foregin money because there’s almost no sustainable economy left in Canada without foreign and immigrant investment in real estate. As far as I can tell, the only competive industries left in Canada are oil and mining so the Canadian economy is in a real bind with our single largest trading partner in a coma. Australia’s econonmy is much stronger than Canada’s since its more closely connected to China via trade. Canada requires a never ending supply or wealthier and wealthier immigrants and foreign investors to keep the economy out of depression.

  5. Apparently there was an article yesterday in the Province by Peter Ladner, on Sandy Garossino, with a related poll question asking if there should be restrictions on foreign ownership. 2,000 responses so far from readers, 80% of them saying yes, there should be restrictions. City leaders, are you listening?

  6. @allen. re: US GPs in BC. would you know what is involved with the certification/licensing process?

    • Hi there, I am Canadian so I don’t know all the ins and outs but it doesn’t seem too difficult given the number of American physicians I work with. It seems the first step is to get a job offer from a Canadian hospital/health region. But after that I am unsure. My close friend, actually his partner is a lawyer from the US but has set up a consulting business here in Vancouver assisting foreign health-care professionals migrate to Canada. I will dig up his website and get back to you.

      • thx. i’m curious for several reasons. fully aware being a gp in the us is a bear. they’re frontline for the dealing with insurance cos. our internist’s clinic in CA stopped taking insurance altogether. a lot of foreign docs here end up in pharma because of licensing hurdles. for can docs, accred isn’t an issue but cert is an extra hoop if they didn’t write us bds at the same time as their can bds. i imagine the situation/process for us docs in can must be sort of mirrored.

      • @Allen-“he would tell you that working as a physician in Canada is FAR better than most any other country”

        It sure is.And you know why?Because in USA only the best succeed and the competition amongst physicians is very strong due to the fact the medical system is not backed by government.And the expectations of the public are higher because they pay big bucks to be treated.
        Whereas here, in Canada,it is easy for physicians:the expectations are not as high as in states due to the nature of our medical system-I have seen here family doctors with very poor medical knowledge(or I should say with serious lack of knowledge) and with no courtesy of compassion for patients.They treat patients like numbers in Canada-it doesn’ t matter the quality of medical act,fast and many-this is what matter here(they do not spend time to explain their patients in detail)
        So I know both sides first hand -I lived in USA 5 years (Virginia and California) and now I am in Vancouver since 2006-I can say that the medical act in USA is far more competitive than in Canada-that is why is far better for physicians-cause it’s easy here being a physician,you do not have the same amount of responsability and pressure as your american counterparts.

    • From what I’ve been told there are three key reasons you may want to practice in Canada, no dealing with insurance companies, better pay (yes, Canada has increased pay for physicians significantly over the past 15 years) and lower insurance expenses. Now, to be clear, my friends are all specialists (Psychiatry and Cardiology, makes for interesting dinner parties, lol) so please consider accordingly. Of course you would have to write the boards and just through a few hoops but I can tell you my department is currently recruiting and we have received a number of resumes from well qualified american physicians. But I will get you that website and I bet they can answer all these questions more completely.

      • @allen. interesting. that’s news to me on specialist comp but i can’t claim to have a lot data of pts. i know GPs take it on the chin b/c they don’t get the comp but get most of the insurance headache. less so for specialists, so i understood, due to the course of treatment having been largely decided. anwyay, thx and cheers.

        @all y’all (love that). couple funnies i saw today in case you didn’t

        containment vessel for the doomsday credit device fully breached and leaky in europe now …
        http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/401498/november-03-2011/european-investment-prospectus

        state of our cronyism …
        http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-november-8-2011/the-walking-debt

        shiva is coming. ciao. out.

      • I remember one party I went to last year with a few doctors. Usually the conversation turns to taxes, skiing, or investments. All that was talked about was skiing.

        Currently anesthesiologists can earn better in BC than the US on balance and the tax treatment isn’t that bad with proprietorship shelters. Not that this is a bad thing per se but rising health care costs are rising health care costs. Recent gains are going to be difficult to claw back.

  7. As far as I can tell, the only competive industries left in Canada are oil and mining so the Canadian economy is in a real bind with our single largest trading partner in a coma.

    Add in water and agriculture and you have the 4 most important industries for the rest of the 21st century. I’d say Canada is in great shape relative to almost everyone else – Vancouver not so much.

    • yes. canada has an outrageous amount of natural resource wealth per capita and can plug right into the US. to a great extent one trades autonomy for economic security. those are huge +ves. it will come out a winner but i think things are going to get very rough for a while first.

    • My mistake forgetting agriculture but water is not an industry and probably never will be in my lifetime despite the sound economic rationale for such.

  8. “I’d say Canada is in great shape relative to almost everyone else – Vancouver not so much”.

    Huh?
    Did Vancouver separate from Canada and no-one told me?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s