‘Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency’ Created By The City

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


“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

13 responses to “‘Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency’ Created By The City

  1. homelessindunbar

    Nice to see you back VREAA. Some interesting reading in the SCMP and other MSM sources lately about money laundering in China and investments in real estate in NA & Vancouver. Links to Zero Hedge & SCMP posted below in case you haven’t read it:



    • Thanks, homelessindunbar.
      I don’t really see these very occasional posts as my being ‘back’; like many other bears-who-have-been-so-wrong-for-so-long, I’m watching the market, but less intensely. Life has to go on…
      There is no change, however, in my overall assessment that the market is very, very overvalued, that prices are the result of (unsustainable) monetary policy and rank speculation, and that there will be a large correction to previously discussed price trend lines at some point. All still very fascinating.
      Keep well, all.

  2. You would not believe the number of vacant new builds in my neighbourhood (west Richmond). They are built, sold and left vacant. There is one right across the street from me which was listed for $2.5M and sold after a few months on the market. It now sits vacant. No one cuts the grass and the mailbox is stuffed with old flyers. This is not uncommon. Disgusting.

    I don’t know what people think affordable housing is, but there are only two ways something becomes affordable. Either the price comes down or the income goes up. No one seems to want to entertain falling real estate prices as a viable policy objective.

    It would be easy to implement. Here are a couple of ideas.

    1. Get the government out of the mortgage insurance business. If private lenders and insurers were on the hook, they’re bound to be more prudent. Overall, less lending and less insuring would mean lower prices.

    2. Have provincial and federal governments generate revenue from a land value tax instead of income tax. This would be an incentive for individuals to work instead of speculating on real estate. Real estate would fall to values that represent their actual utility instead of their current crazy speculative values. Hot money would avoid real estate because the carrying cost would be enormous. For residential real estate, the incentives will naturally be to live in it or rent it out. Keeping it vacant would in most cases not be an option.

    I’m not holding my breath.

    • “No one seems to want to entertain falling real estate prices as a viable policy objective.”

      Agreed; this is, and has always been, an immense hurdle.

  3. Ulterior motive?

    Is this a great PR move or what? Re-elections coming around the corner so get a Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency to appease the local masses. City councillors and the mayor appear like they are hearing and acting on what the people are demanding. This agency will burn through the cash and then produce no solid changes for the local people who want to purchase and live here. Way to think about the votes and getting re-elected.

  4. But in the meantime, while we wait, the stories are still entertaining. =)


  5. Wow, IllustriousEd… BrilliantLeaderIllustration!…

    Notwithstanding that you had me at, “PixieDust” – you did forget one vital attribute…

  6. We can still sing we that we have the money from abroad even though many lofts are desperatelly empty and place to build is quickly shrinking. from the small western city, we became a monster attracting foreign investments and yet people think that it is good that it goes on. the costs of living are unbearable so they create new agencies we don’t need agencies we need more living space, clean air and water.

  7. I look forward to another report on the matter.

  8. VAHA. Promise me you all will say it like, “Vaaaaaaaa HA!” at parties. Otherwise it sounds like a response to a bad joke.

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