The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada has just published a “virtual roundtable” on the increasingly contentious question of whether and how to regulate foreign ownership of residential real estate in Vancouver. I’m honoured to be one of the experts who was asked to weigh in.
In general, the panel expressed strong concern about housing affordability in Vancouver, but also warnings not to uncritically demonize “foreigners”.
As I argue:
There’s a strong public interest in regulating the sale of housing to people who don’t live and work in the Vancouver region, because non-local buyers make housing less affordable for everyone else. The specific question of foreign nationality isn’t the problem (although it may be the easiest way to tackle the problem politically); the problem is people buying houses who aren’t living in those houses year-round and contributing to the local economy.