theQuestion: Are the BC NDP being straight with the public about its proposed Housing Affordability Fund and Speculator Fee Act?*
The crisis over home ownership in Metro Vancouver has many causes and few easy solutions. What to do about runaway home prices necessitates sellers, buyers, real estate agents and investors take a hard look at their behaviour in the marketplace — and then decide whether advancing capital gain should outweigh any damage done to the long-term viability of the region.
Economic vibrancy, worker productivity, the environment and quality of life are all at risk.
Already complicated, the problem is only being made worse by the BC NDP, which seeks to confuse the issues to advance its social agenda and energize its base before the provincial election. I don’t begrudge them for exploiting this issue, since it would be political malpractice not to. But I take exception with the obfuscation of the issues.
BC NDP Leader John Horgan introduced two private member’s bills to combat what he calls the housing affordability crisis. I have no problem with the first bill dealing with preventing investors from exploiting loopholes to avoid paying the Property Transfer Tax. I have real concerns with the other — the Housing Affordability Fund and Speculator Fee Act.
Are we facing a crisis over home ownership or housing affordability? These are two separate issues, yet the BC NDP speaks as if they are one. Both are a problem, yet the cause and solutions for each are different. When news headlines scream about home values increasing 30% in 12 months, and vicious bidding wars and dilapidated homes selling for over a million dollars, it has nothing to do with the tight rental market, lack of social housing, or millennial angst over not getting their fair share.
Those affected by runaway house prices don’t have a housing affordability problem, they have a “I can’t buy this house” problem. If that’s your problem, then you most certainly can afford housing.
The BC NDP is perpetrating a deft bait-and-switch on the public. New Democrats and their social justice brethren at Vancouver City Hall have hijacked the issue and are folding in all of the usual left-wing affordable housing causes and selling it as a solution to the runaway real estate market. It’s a sham.
Government can help solve the problem. First, get over the fear of being labelled racist. Then, ruthlessly clamp down on foreign investment capital coming from China.