Unfortunately the fix is in. What we need is full disclosure of who is receiving 'campaign funds' from developers.

Expand full comment

"In addition to the 12-year supply of spot rezoned homes approved or in process, we have:...." You did not mention the Heather Lands or the Oakridge Bus Yard. I hope that they are captured somewhere.

Expand full comment

Well done. Thank you for pointing out the practice of "Planning Staff says so" that I find in so many of their publications and pronouncements. I too, look at CMHC and Stats Can numbers. The only justification for building these towers is for investment. People won't actually live there. In Coal Harbour, Concord Pacific False Creek and Yaletown, the evidence is obvious in empty balconies and lack of furniture. As you know, the City does not offer hard numbers and I was unable to obtain answers (so far) to the questions of How many properties pay the empty homes tax and how many qualify for exemption? As the massive development at Oakridge is completed, that should provide sufficient housing for individuals in the highest income bracket who are residents of Vancouver. As you point out, the rates of immigration have remained fairly steady and they can be easily absorbed. All the rest of this development appears to be land speculation as our housing becomes financialized assets. In my opinion, the City of Vancouver should be building housing that is suitable for the income levels of the people who live in this city. Note: the speaker at the next Grandview Woodland meeting is Vancouver Director of Planning, Theresa O’Donnell. May 2nd, 2022. Link on GWAC site. I hope you can attend.

Expand full comment

This is a frightening report! For 15 years I, along with many others from the small business community in Vancouver regarding commercial property taxes, found the exact same approach being used by city staff for reporting to Council. Nothing has changed. The tail is most certainly wagging the dog (or sheep).

Ed Des Roches

Expand full comment

Good job tackling this very (unnecessarily) complicated issue! However, if we are going to empty the swamp we have to avoid getting caught in swamp fever. And I have to tell you, my head is swimming right now.

I'm going to start with Figure (1) because it is foundational to Fig.(2) and the rest of the discussion:

(a) How is 'Housing Need' estimated?

(b) How is 'Growth' measured (maybe, quote the just released census)?

(c) What it the total number of households in Vancouver? And while we are at it, how many are priced/rented above the affordability threshold (federal definition)? How many rent below the monthly social assistance check? (In the DTES it is common place for rent to take the full check. In some SRO residents just sign it over). There are probably 3 filters that we need to pass the data through: market; affordable; supportive. Those three boxes apply to the whole data set.

That's just baseline stuff. You have done a great job of explaining your research:

(d) Total number of spot rezoning in the CoV: 100,000 homes; 38 year supply.

I contacted Stats Canada directly, and due to decreases over the Covid years, the 2016-2021 annual growth figure for Vancouver can remain at 1% Growth (b) above.

Assuming you have the numbers right (they look good to me) 100,000 homes over 38 years means 2,650 homes per year is the (a) Housing Need above.

'(c)' Would be a handy number to have, but I don't see it.

The 25% Unaffordable, I agree with you, is a joke. You have to press for answers on these figures!

However, you must quote:

(e) CMHC

(f) Metro Vancouver

(g) Stats Canada

If we are to get to the real picture. As these numbers either support of come into conflict with one another, we will start to know just what the heck is going on.

The final numbers to provide are stock market growth numbers. Here the 'quants' are about how much Vancouver REITS are expected to growth this year.

An AE LePage analyst last February published what I take to be a good representation of this other kind of 'growth': growth in the investment portfolio of Vancouver housing paper or 'mutual funds'.

(h) 12% for Houses

(i) 8% for Condos.

That's not the whole picture, but it is a very robust data set.

"Ten Year Pipeline" (quoted as 51,000 in Fig. 2, should be 10 x (a) = 26,500.

By this measure:

• The plans are out by 200%—twice the capacity in the pipe than needed to HOUSE people (stock market aspirations, of course are different thing).

By your 100,000 units 'found' on the city website:

• The plans are out by 400%—four times the needed capacity is in the pipe.

As you well point out... there is more coming. The BS Corridor Plan and the New City Plan are coming to Council in May and June.

What this analysis still leaves out is the other poser: what is this brand of growth management doing to the markets?

I think we can answer that based on living in this city for more than four decades: land values are being inflated by Council giving away density.

Note that while this is BAD for those looking to live affordably in Vancouver, it is not BAD across the board. Developers are making out like bandits with bags of money. Government is complicit by collecting development fees & revenues.

What about the livability of the city? What is the result, besides land price inflation, of dropping towers into neighborhoods like so many bunker busting bombs?

Stay tuned folks.... I'm feeling another 'conversation' coming up!

Expand full comment