In a kind of yang-ish counterpoint to my last post about yin-ish Portland (and Victoria), here’s a pointer to a BC Business article, Housing has become Vancouver’s toxic asset, by Tony Wanless, that makes me think Vancouver’s yang is just a tad out of control. Wanless points to a blog post by Vancouver independent city council candidate Sandy Garossini, Unaffordable (That’s What You Are), which presents the truly jaw-dropping insights she gleaned during her recent campaigning in Vancouver.
What really jumped out for me was an eery parallel between suburban developments blighted by the sub-prime mortgage crisis and what’s happening in Vancouver. In the former, you have those underwater developments that have been turned into virtual ghost towns, with perhaps one family holding down the fort on a block of otherwise empty houses. In the latter (according to the articles), you have west-side Vancouver neighborhoods where there are blocks of houses kept empty by their off-shore investor owners, while a single family remains on the street as an actual resident.
You’ve got to read Garossini’s post.
Many see Vancouver in a housing bubble, and it may well be. Others however, such as celebrated architect Gregory Henriquez, think our prices still have far to go to reach that point. Amazingly, Henriquez says that Vancouver is still under-priced. He is not looking at local economic conditions, however, but at the international forces in play. Viewed globally, Henriquez says that our market has become the “safety-deposit box for the world.” (source)
Interesting, how Victoria (across the Strait) remains relatively immune.
Must be the yin.