Foreign buyer tax still working as expected

The foreign buyer tax has been in effect for 8 months now, and despite a lot of hand wringing from the real estate and construction industry, as well as fear from Victorians that it might push international buying activity to our market, it seems to be working as intended.

The government has stepped up the timeliness of the data and they are now no longer 2 months behind publishing stats their property transfer tax transactions.   So here is the latest data for Victoria and Vancouver.   In percentage terms, we can see that outside of the spike in October, foreign buyers have settled in around 4.5% of the market.   Not insignificant, but also not a huge number (there were only 25 foreign involved transactions in February).

Looking at the sales volume, the picture is much the same, considering that the sales volume should be decreasing into the winter so the decline is likely more seasonal than indicative of a slowing of interest.

Note that foreign involved transactions are not the same as the buyer origin stats that the VREB puts out.   The foreign involvement is based on citizenship (so buyers could have been living and owning property in Victoria before) while buyer origin is based on where the buyer is moving from (their current address).

What will be interesting is if the buying activity in Vancouver picks up now that the foreign buyers rules are being relaxed again.   For Victoria it looks like the bigger impact remains Vancouver spillover than direct foreign investment.

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166 thoughts on “Foreign buyer tax still working as expected

  1. Whether you use 1.6 or 1.3 doesn’t matter too much. Because that alone doesn’t tell you what the market was like. You also have to look at how fast new listings were being added and how fast inventory was being absorbed. Yet even with this additional information the lines of where a balanced market becomes a buyer or sellers is fuzzy.

    For the entertainment purpose of this blog using the data you are showing is fine.

  2. Right. Overall I’m not overly concerned about this definition of the data or that. As long as we use the same definition when comparing previous months to the current month. So I’m less concerned with whether the MOI is 1.6 or 1.3 or 2.3 by the various systems, but I am interested in how the value compares to history.

  3. The Matrix system was initiated in 2008. Information before then would have been transcribed from the Ambience system. So there could have been transcribing errors in 2007 and earlier.

  4. Leo the board makes up the press release from the Matrix system. There may be lots of reasons why they don’t match but I suspect most have to do with the press release has a cut off date for data submission so that the president can write his synopsis of the market.

    This month is a good example. The last day of the month was Friday. If a property was listed or sold on Friday it would likely not be entered by the agent until Monday or Tuesday That info would not be in the press release but it would be in STATS. As the agent would have entered the sale date as Friday on Monday of the next month. The press release makes that clear when they say it is based on the information as at midnight of the last day. A cut off date for the purpose of publication.

    Since the press release is taken from the Matrix system if the Matrix system is wrong so would be the press release. You can check the STATS against the Status Changes for the month as well as pending/sold sales for the month. They corroborate the information in the STATS reports.

    Once the press release is issued it is essentially carved in stone. The STATS though is always being updated with the most recent information.

  5. Then you can cross check active listings by re-calculating the months of inventory using the STATS option.

    I’m talking about the VREB monthly reports they publish. In those what they call “active listings” is actually “current listings”. I don’t disagree that the STATS module will produce different results and I agree that the definition of MOI in stats is active listings / sales.

    However I still think the STATS module is defective, especially when going further back. Active listings will always be bigger than current listings, so you would expect their MOI to always be larger than mine (current listings / sales). However that is not the case, as we discussed earlier with the STATS module showing MOI in 2007 being under 1, when it was actually far above that.

  6. Caveat Emptor it isn’t my method. It is the real estate board’s method. An active listing is one that was offered for sale during the month. A current listing would be just what is available currently ie today.

    Now that Leo has full access he can see it for himself. Before then he had to rely on press releases that were a bit obscure.

  7. “This represents the total number of listings with a Listing Status of “Current” as at the end of the reporting month.”

    And in the example of Esquimalt Condominiums during the month of March all 24 had the status of current at one time during that month. As the month progressed their status changed from current to sold, expired, inactive or cancelled. But during the month of March all were at one time current listings.

  8. VREB doesn’t disagree. Check out the VREB status report for the month.

    Then you can cross check active listings by re-calculating the months of inventory using the STATS option.

    For example there were 24 Active Listings for condominiums in Esquimalt for the month of March which you can find under STATS.

    Then if you look at the STATUS CHANGE DATE for the activity during March you will find the break down as:

    8 current listings
    1 Expired listing
    13 sales
    1 inactive
    1 cancelled

    During the month of March there were 24 active listings of condominiums in Esquimalt that were available for sale.

  9. The Months of Inventory is Active Listings during the month divided by the number of sales during the month.

    Never seen that definition. Normally it is defined as active listings at month end. i.e. current listings. divided by sales for the month.

    Active listings is not the same as current listings.

    VREB disagrees. What they call active listings is actually “active listings at month end” which they define as: “This represents the total number of listings with a Listing Status of “Current” as at the end of the reporting month.”
    For example, see the report “Historical Active Listing Count By Month”.

  10. Thanks for the explanation Leo. I apparently didn’t actually read the chart title which as you pointed out clearly says 12 month average on the first graph

  11. John

    your method of calculating MOI would give quite a different answer than Leo’s especially at lower inventory levels. If I understand correctly you would calculate MOI as: (end of month listings + listings that sold in the month + listings that expired in the month and were not renewed) / sales in the month.

    At current levels Leo’s method (ignoring the issue of commercial property) would give 1556/921. Your method would be roughly (1556 + 921 + a little bit for expired listings) / 921. Quite a difference.

    I am surprised there are such different definitions for this metric. Not saying which I think is better, just curious.

  12. Just to clarify a point regarding current inventory

    The Months of Inventory is Active Listings during the month divided by the number of sales during the month.

    Active listings is not the same as current listings. If the property was available for sale during the month then it would have been considered to have been active. That would include current listings, most of the sales that occurred that month as well as listing that expired during the month.

  13. It seems like a pitiful testament to the state of this market – we need to enable people to sleep in their cars, because many don’t have, or cannot afford, a place to live.

    Of all the things to worry about, folks sleeping in their cars is one of the last on my list. If you have a car and don’t have a place to live I just have to hope that as a society we’d support you in having at least this much autonomy.

  14. My simple calculation is to divide the current inventory 1556 by the last months sales 921 and come up with 1.68.

    Correct. That is Months of inventory for all properties. However about 500 of those properties are actually commercial properties which most people aren’t interested in, so I used the residential months of inventory.

  15. Both the first and the third graph show months of inventory. 1.77 on the first graph

    That is the residential months of inventory with 12 month running average. (as shown in the chart title). So basically 1.77 is the average months of inventory for the past year.

    1.3 on the third graph.

    Also residential inventory but only comparing March for every year. So every data point on that graph is a March residential MOI for a previous year.

  16. Leo

    question re market summary. Both the first and the third graph show months of inventory. 1.77 on the first graph. 1.3 on the third graph. Would you mind explaining again what the difference is. I am assuming this is different subsets of the market? My simple calculation is to divide the current inventory 1556 by the last months sales 921 and come up with 1.68.

    Thanks

  17. Today she’s saying that people sleeping in their vehicles shouldn’t be getting tickets.

    My partner and I heard this on CFAX this morning on the way in. She laughed, I cringed. I don’t know which reaction made more sense. It’s just ridiculous, and yet it seems sensible.

    It seems like a pitiful testament to the state of this market – we need to enable people to sleep in their cars, because many don’t have, or cannot afford, a place to live.

  18. That’s the issue, isn’t it? Luxury condos? How many new 2 bd condos in Victoria are in the $650k+ range? And no 3 bd ones being built. And if they are, it’s in a penthouse or 1500+ sq. ft. suite. Are they not profitable? Why not mandate a portion of each build is 3 bd? And none of the\ose den/quasi windowless prison cells either.

    Meanwhile the mayor is busy with a police chief that can’t keep his hands to himself, and building bike lanes that (it seems) a majority of people oppose.

    Today she’s saying that people sleeping in their vehicles shouldn’t be getting tickets.

    Where are her priorities? All I see is focusing on other issues or treating more symptoms of the disease.

  19. Re: family sized apartments

    I guess maybe since that cohort isn’t even looking at a multi for accommodation? Seems right now there’d be demand for it.

    Maybe the problem is that 3+ bedroom apartments are seen as low-cost, i.e., attracting low-income people, whereas in the major cities it is the wealthy who have the multi-bedroom apartments. Back in the sixties, a school friend of mine had an apartment (shared with a bunch of others) on Wilton Place, between Harrods department store and Hyde Park. His neighbour was Princess Lee Radziwill, Jackie Kennedy’s sister. It was a really nice place, four of five large bedrooms, huge dining and living rooms plus a family sized kitchen. So maybe Victoria’s developers should be moving up-market — developments along the lines of David butterfield’s Shoal Point.

  20. It’s the one out of a hundred that I need to watch out for

    James Soper – it sounds like you are that 1 in a 100 that people need to watch out for 😉

  21. If you want to make if family-friendly, there should be some three bedroom units and even some four bedroom units (the extra bedrooms need add no more than a couple of hundred square feet to each unit)

    That would seem ideal, although I have seen some argue those aren’t profitable to make. If that’s true, I’m not sure why. I guess maybe since that cohort isn’t even looking at a multi for accommodation? Seems right now there’d be demand for it.

  22. cyclists like you

    Go on.

    Because I have a camera for people that do this crap? As I said before, I’d just report you.
    99% of people on my commute are great. It’s the one out of a hundred that I need to watch out for, and the 1 out of a 10000 that decide I’m not far enough over (on Dallas road, which I believe is a 40 zone, right next to the ross bay cemetary) and they pull around while going up a hill, and jam on the breaks. Fortunately the Oak Bay police actually take it really seriously and license plate number 250 LAK got dealt with.

  23. My attitude may seems gross but I am not sure that your attitude of “lets ruin it ” with high rises and turn it into mess like Toronto. I moved from Toronto for a reason. I respect that for some people high density living is appealing. But if that is your preference I dont understand why you did not move to Vancouver.

    I’ve lived in Toronto. It’s problem was entirely that no one lived in the downtown core. Downtown shutdown at 6 o’clock. They’ve been rectifying it now for the last 10 years, but they’ve got a long way to go. Think about where the additional 800 thousand people in Toronto would be living if they hadn’t been building condos for the last ten years. They’d be in the suburbs, commuting in every day.

    I didn’t move to Vancouver because I didn’t move at all.

    Are you saying they should tear down the View towers? Because I don’t see how you shouldn’t have an issue with already constructed high rises if this is your view point.

  24. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and have never seen or heard of one person riding in a lane on the pat bay highway.

    I haven’t either, which is where I drive the most. I remember once though, there was someone who rode some kind of motorized pedal bike in the right lane- It couldn’t do better than about 45 km/h. Bad idea, as for something like that, the shoulder is appropriate. I think for the city, designated bike lanes are a great idea, although I don’t think they should be made if it means hobbling existing infrastructure. Totally an urban planning thing. Things like the galloping goose are such a great resource; I’d love to see more of those things.

    James, it’s okay. Really. Don’t worry, I’m not actually that dangerous or homicidal. It’s just that drivers like me and cyclists like you need to be more patient with one another.

  25. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and have never seen or heard of one person riding in a lane on the pat bay highway.

  26. In L.A. one bicyclist hammer a dent into a guys car because he was cut off. I can understand the feeling but he picked the wrong car. The gang banger jumped out and unload a full clip of a Mach 10 into him. The bicyclist might have been right but he ended up dead right.

  27. Agreed, and it also works in reverse

    Because people on bicycles tried to kill you?

    Use bike lanes where available, or keep to the right.

    It’s really not.
    I’m more likely to get killed riding on the right. Years of experience has told me that much. A law won’t make me do something that’s more dangerous.

    Do you honk at every slow driver in town(especially on the highway in the left lane)? At every person who doesn’t come to a complete stop? That changes lanes without signaling?

    Do you try to kill them too?

  28. They should allow the thirty stories if it includes a certain percentage of two bedrooms, kid friendly public space, and a total ban on Vacation rentals…. the last being most important.

    If you want to make if family-friendly, there should be some three bedroom units and even some four bedroom units (the extra bedrooms need add no more than a couple of hundred square feet to each unit), plus spaces dedicated to a daycare center and a kindergarten.

  29. How do people feel about earthquake insurance? What is generally the additional cost for this?

    If I am not mistaken, earthquake insurance with a 10% deductable, doubles our premium, and implies an anticipated 100% payout once every thousand years — that’s assuming that the insurer’s profit plus overhead is 50% of the premium.

    One might expect the insurer (Lloyds) to know how to calculate the odds, and if they do, then the risk of your house being demolished by an earthquake is quite small but not insignificant (5% if you are own a home for 50 years).

  30. This is why cyclists hate drivers. Give cyclists the room then need to be safe so they can get home to their families, not the room you think they deserve because their vehicle is smaller than yours, you selfish prick.

    Agreed, and it also works in reverse. Riding within a meter of the curb is fine IMO, which nearly all do. However there are a few that don’t, or they turn with no signals, etc. All the same complaints people have raised many time before. Don’t really need to go over it.

    Riding in the middle of the road despite a busy roadway just isn’t a good idea. Yes, earlier was hyperbole on my part, as I’m not actually into creating serious undue risk. More just spouting off than anything, like James threatening to send me to a gruesome death.

    However, it isn’t hyperbole that when a cyclist deliberately obstructs traffic without cause and has no regard to the danger they put themselves in or others – I won’t make huge allowances for those people by driving into busy oncoming lanes, or forcing cars others to do so, and I will absolutely honk at them. Most of the time, they move back to the right. A few may give a middle finger, and they can do that too. Seems to inflame passions I guess, including mine. Use bike lanes where available, or keep to the right. Then all is good. 🙂

  31. So many situations where you need to own the lane. Blue bridge is one (there is a sign telling bikes to do so) the other is narrow roads with lots of cars parked. A door opening is a bigger hazard etc. down the Pat Bay Highway? Not so much…. No need to be a dick if you are in a car or a bike. Respect each other. Certainly one should always drive defensively (by not trying to hit irritating bikers?) and Bikes should ride defensively by being predictable, visible and aware of their surroundings…. But most of all we should build protected bike lanes mostly north of town in. Living in Fairfield now and there isn’t much need for them here. Maybe one up cook or Vancouver. It’s the Shelbourne corridor that needs them so bad. Biking sucks from GH…..

  32. James Soper is exactly the kind of aggressive cyclist that gives the others a bad name.

    Based on what.
    I ride to and from work and my only concern is making it in one piece.
    Not owning the lane gets people in terrible spots (i’ve seen someone try to pass a biker on the blue bridge because they were on the far right side, and they thought they had room.)

    Start biking everywhere and you’ll figure it out pretty quickly.

    Personally, if I saw someone take a bikers life in their hands, and the biker broke their car window, I’d say all the power to them. Nothing justifies what local fool “does”.

  33. I will accelerate past you so closely it will shave the hair off your knuckles – and wail my horn at you as I do it.

    I try to stay polite on the intertubes. But I must say in nearly 9 years of reading HHV that comment wins the d**khead award by far.

  34. @ Local Fool: “I will accelerate past you so closely it will shave the hair off your knuckles”

    Do you know what happens when you hit the handlebars of a cyclist while accelerating by? Assuming you pass most on the left, if you hit the handlebars bars the bike turns right and the rider falls into your car and under your wheels.

    If you ever hit someone by mistake trying to make your point about your sense of entitlement and took away someones father or mother or child, how would you feel?

    You are unnecessarily threatening peoples lives. What you do is no different than walking the streets and putting a gun in peoples faces and threatening to shoot them because they are in your way, which is why it’s illegal in other places in Canada.

    http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-police-to-drivers-beware-the-one-metre-bike-rule

    This is why cyclists hate drivers. Give cyclists the room then need to be safe so they can get home to their families, not the room you think they deserve because their vehicle is smaller than yours, you selfish prick.

  35. What in your vision is the maximum population that should be in the city of Victoria. Just a rough rough would be great. 500,000; 750,000 ; a million or 1.5 million or even two million.

    City of Victoria will probably never reach those numbers. We are just shy of 86,000 now. If we equal the percentage growth rate of the last 15 years in the next 15 years then CoV will have about 99,000 people in 2031. The CRD at that point will have 450,000 people again if current growth rates continue. Half a million for the entire region (not CoV) would happen in the early 2040’s. Accommodating that number without a decline in quality of life does not seem unreasonable.

    Obviously if the rate of population growth stays constant (exponential growth in pop). There will reach a point where quality of life does suffer.

  36. i’d rip you out of our car, knock you out and then run you over with your own car.

    Just recently ordered some new compliance bushings to firm up the lower control arms on my car. Wait till I put those in first – that way not only will you be able to better aim my car at me, you’ll have firmer control as you turn me into a quivering pancake.

    Plus at the end of it – you won’t need to say “our car” any more – it’ll be all yours! Just turn off your camera beforehand, and no one will ever know. 🙂

  37. And I’d probably just report you, because I have it all on camera my friend. I’ve heard of other cyclists breaking car windows as well when people do stupid stuff like that.

    James Soper is exactly the kind of aggressive cyclist that gives the others a bad name.

  38. I am looking to purchase home insurance. How do people feel about earthquake insurance? What is generally the additional cost for this?

  39. I’ve heard of other cyclists breaking car windows as well when people do stupid stuff like that. Don’t be a prick. You don’t own the road, and yet you’re acting like it.

    My old co-worker used to smack cars that passed too close to him. Although justified, I wonder about the logic of possibly damaging several tonnes of steel and momentum which may have a driver with a few cards short of a deck.

    Another “acquaintance” of mine has been beat up twice for placing his hands on vehicles that came too close to him in a crosswalk.

  40. And since we’re playing with people’s lives here, when I caught up to you, i’d rip you out of our car, knock you out and then run you over with your own car. Seriously watch out because I’m out there, chump.

  41. Only one person can win the bid, and that’s the statistic that is counted.

    I have little doubt that some properties in GVA had 100% foreigners bidding on them. Foreigners aren’t interested in every property that comes up, so the truly desirable ones will have a higher proportion of foreign bidders. As I’ve stated, ad nauseum, foreigners aren’t competing in Esquimalt, Gorge, and the Westshore.

    I’ve been to open houses where there was more than one family present whose native tongue wasn’t English, sat in the coffee shop next to a guy speaking broken English to a realtor, etc.

    Does it skew to the average of all foreign buyers when you take desirable and non-desirable homes into account? Possibly.

    What we need is foreign buyers numbers for the municipalities rather than the region to either debunk or prove my theory. We need South Vancouver Island to become a Liberal riding for that to happen.

  42. However, if you’re on a bicycle in the middle of a main thoroughfare without regard to the cars around you, I will accelerate past you so closely it will shave the hair off your knuckles – and wail my horn at you as I do it. My only exception is children or if the bike is carrying one. Sorry, it’s like warm juice or someone choosing to sit next to you on the skytrain when it’s only the two of you on the train. Bit of a pet peeve of mine.

    And I’d probably just report you, because I have it all on camera my friend.

    I’ve heard of other cyclists breaking car windows as well when people do stupid stuff like that. Don’t be a prick. You don’t own the road, and yet you’re acting like it. Being in the middle of the lane isn’t asking the driver to look after them, any more than any other vehicle being in the middle of the lane.

    Not changing my mind on owning the lane, it’s way safer even with people like you out there.

  43. That was the percentage buying, not bidding.

    So a much larger percentage is bidding but they are extremely unsuccessful bidders? How does that make sense?

  44. I don’t buy it. Even in the hot spots of Richmond it was 25% at most. This is an example of a couple anecdotes being blown out of proportion.

    That was the percentage buying, not bidding. Your charts are great, but you take a lot of the data at face value. That’s putting too much faith in people doing their jobs properly.

  45. March 31, 2017
    Sales: 929
    New Listings: 1217
    Inventory: 1556

    Sales down 17% from last year, inventory down 41%.

  46. That is just stupid to risk hitting a Cyclist to prove a point. I ride in the middle when no bike lane.

    To be fair, I did confess to being of those a-holes in a car. Just keep to the right, wear a helmet, and I’ll take all the care in the world.

    It is interesting to see the variation of pedestrian psychology in different parts of the world. In many places in US or Asia – cyclists are on guard as they know they are vulnerable and take efforts to protect themselves. Here, it’s a curious inversion – I am a cyclist, so you driver, look after me. The motto is, “You own a car, not the road”. Some of them have an aura of moral haughtiness which gets to me. Perhaps that’s what annoys me.

    They’re right. I don’t own the road, and I do own a car. You on the other hand own a bike, so take care of yourself. It’s one of those things that really has no right or wrong answer; it can be argued either way. Just warning you – I’m out there. 😀

  47. James Soper:

    My attitude may seems gross but I am not sure that your attitude of “lets ruin it ” with high rises and turn it into mess like Toronto. I moved from Toronto for a reason. I respect that for some people high density living is appealing. But if that is your preference I dont understand why you did not move to Vancouver.

    Nor am I proposing urban sprawl as is sort of suggested by you. Rather I am suggesting that we follow the Swiss model of managed clusters of small cities .

    Before you ascribe totally selfish motives to me might I point out that it is highly unlikely that I will live to see this city converted into something else by high rises.

    But let me ask both you and Marko a question that I have asked before and never got an answer to. What in your vision is the maximum population that should be in the city of Victoria. Just a rough rough would be great. 500,000; 750,000 ; a million or 1.5 million or even two million. T me that is a key planning question. Without that question being answered it is next to impossible to make decisions as to both planning and the supporting infra structure. Start with basics such as hospital facilities, sewage and water. Bear in mind that we already have water restrictions and while condos use less water that houses an extra 100,000 will push us past the limits of our water source. Remember that the west shore draws on the same water source and they are not about they abandon their development just to please Victoria.

    To Marko:

    i would not even be in the city if I was not tied down to having to be near a major medical facility. Personally, I would rather be on a hundred acre horse farm in Virginia.

  48. Local Fool

    That is just stupid to risk hitting a Cyclist to prove a point.
    I ride in the middle when no bike lane. I can go as fast as the cars downtown and that is the safest place from getting hit or having car door open on me. Never had an issue with drivers in the middle. If I cannot hit the max speed limit I go as right as possible without putting myself at risk.

  49. Heard of a couple of nightmares saved by getting a home inspection that could have cost them over $100K of surprises that HGTV watching would not have picked up. For all the bully bidders I hope they wear it well.

    Toronto home bidding wars so fierce that homebuyers are skipping inspections

    “You don’t know what could be hiding behind the walls,” said Shubha Dasgupta, owner of Capital Lending Centre, a Toronto-based mortgage brokerage.

    http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/toronto-home-bidding-wars-so-fierce-that-homebuyers-are-skipping-inspections

  50. “If the client defaults, who are they going to collect from? Because they don’t know who the beneficial owner is of these properties,” says Christine Duhaime, an expert on anti-money-laundering laws. “The bank thinks it’s complying with anti-money-laundering laws in knowing its client, but it isn’t.”

    This where all these so called stress tests on the banks are bullshit. None account for the billions in foreign loans that have a hope in hell of ever collecting. When the shit hits the fan in China, (and it will), then you will see how weak our banks truly are as they dump their properties at losses and take whatever cash they can out of the country and run.

  51. As someone who bikes every day, you’re insane if you don’t take the full lane when there is no bike lane. It’s an invitation for assholes in cars (not saying everyone in a car is what, just saying that there are assholes who drive too) to try to pass you within the same lane.

    I wouldn’t bet on that, James. I’m definitely one of those “assholes in cars”, so I will explain. If there is no bike lane and you are doing your level best to keep to the right, I will make efforts to give you space and careful attention as I would any pedestrian on foot. Doubly so if we’re moving through a construction zone or somewhere where the road may be subject to unexpected or poor conditions.

    However, if you’re on a bicycle in the middle of a main thoroughfare without regard to the cars around you, I will accelerate past you so closely it will shave the hair off your knuckles – and wail my horn at you as I do it. My only exception is children or if the bike is carrying one. Sorry, it’s like warm juice or someone choosing to sit next to you on the skytrain when it’s only the two of you on the train. Bit of a pet peeve of mine. 🙂

  52. Most European cities can accommodate lots of residents at a high density without resorting to scores of high rises. The solution is building lots of rowhouses and low rise buildings. The result, in many cases, is beautiful and charming.

    I say zone all of central Victoria as well as most areas near “village cores” for row housing with high architectural and building standards.

    In places like the UK, living in a row house is perfectly acceptable even for a larger high income family. Indeed, some row housing in the UK is the most desirable and prestigious kind. Such housing also gives so many UK towns their charm and even history, if you look at those lovely Georgian town homes in Bath or those “half moon” streets in Belgravia.

    BTW, Vancouver failed to build sufficient rowhouses and the result is a horrible lack of decent family accommodation even for high income families. They are only starting to build town homes in reasonable quantities and the results so far looks better than the SFH it is replacing (please see the new row housing in the Cambie/Marpole area near the Marine Gateway station/Winona Park area).

    Such housing is not cheap in Vancouver but at least it is semi affordable for a high income family and quite suitable to raise children. If Victoria moves quicker then I say it will be affordable to much of the middle class.

  53. As someone who bikes every day, you’re insane if you don’t take the full lane when there is no bike lane

    I also ride every day and would never dream of taking the lane. Ride as if no one sees you. Relying on drivers to notice you is a surefire way to get run over. Ride as far right as possible (I always ride much closer to the right than 1m) and then even if the cars don’t see you, you don’t get run over. Avoid places like shelbourne with no curb.

  54. One more thing w/r to density. Is it really going to increase congestion downtown? When I lived in downtown Toronto I didn’t even have a car, and the people I knew that did would only use it to get out of the city on the weekends. That’s the whole point of living downtown!

  55. @totoro
    As someone who bikes every day, you’re insane if you don’t take the full lane when there is no bike lane. It’s an invitation for assholes in cars (not saying everyone in a car is what, just saying that there are assholes who drive too) to try to pass you within the same lane.

    @hawk.
    Buy a coat. Biking in the rain with proper rain gear is easy. I thought it was going to be awful at first, but really there is just a few days a year (actually) that aren’t fun. The rest of the winter is fine (granted I don’t bike on snow days) and the summers are great. This winter has been the worst in a decade and I can’t count even 5 days where I got horribly wet.

  56. When you think of big American cities, you think of high rises? Because, aside from New York City, that’s the last thing I think of. American cities are all about sprawl, that’s their one defining concept, that they’re so fucking huge that they can’t actually afford the infrastructure that they build, so the only way they can pay for upkeep is to keep building out.

    Density is the exact opposite of that and should be encouraged, otherwise you end up with Toronto, and people commuting from Duncan, Ladysmith and even further. Barrister, what you’re displaying is the prototypical “I’ve moved here, let’s close up shop and not ruin it” attitude that for whatever reason is prevalent here. It’s pretty gross in my opinion.

  57. “Find an honest realtor and ask them how many offers are from Asian families”

    This honesty search might take a while……

  58. In Vancouver. And the evidence there is clear. Prices detached from incomes a long time ago. But while this was happening there, prices in Victoria stagnated for years. So clearly it’s quite a different market.
    I’m not dismissing the possibility but I’d want to see more compelling evidence than some anecdotes.

  59. Leo, there are games being played in the Canadian RE market that lawyers, accountants, and realtors have attested to, so the official data being collected/shared is really not enough to tell the whole story …

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/vancouver/out-of-the-shadows/article31802994/
    “The papers that Mr. Lazos provided The Globe paint a fascinating picture, revealing a network of players – local and foreign – who are parking money in Canadian real estate. They also show how loopholes and lax oversight make it easy for the speculators to play the system – and profit tax-free – by obscuring their ownership and earnings, all the while treating the properties as commodities, not homes. ”

    “In addition to holes in the tax system, speculators like Mr. Gu also rely heavily on Canadian financial institutions to give their clients multimillion-dollar loans. “They are using this money temporarily – to make more money – instead of using their own money,” Mr. Lazos says. “Then prices go up. We are making the bank richer and the Canadians poorer.”

    “If lenders are in the dark, experts say, they may be unwittingly violating anti-money-laundering laws, which require them to know detailed information about all their clients – which, in this instance, should include Mr. Gu.”

    “If the client defaults, who are they going to collect from? Because they don’t know who the beneficial owner is of these properties,” says Christine Duhaime, an expert on anti-money-laundering laws. “The bank thinks it’s complying with anti-money-laundering laws in knowing its client, but it isn’t.”

  60. Your telling me that the hot spots of Richmond were less than 25% Asian families buying? I guess makes sense if you believe foreign money isn’t effecting Victoria real estate in a major way.

  61. well over 50% of the offers were from Asian families.

    I don’t buy it. Even in the hot spots of Richmond it was 25% at most. This is an example of a couple anecdotes being blown out of proportion.

    Now I can’t tell you for sure that all 50% of those were foreign buyers but let’s get real here… they are not local families.

    Gordon Head is about 30% people of Asian heritage. Almost certainly most of the buyers were Canadians.

    Find an honest realtor and ask them how many offers are from Asian families

    How would they know this?

    Fact is we have pretty reliable records through the PTT data. Until I see some good explanation why that isn’t accurate that’s our best evidence. Anecdotes are not data.
    Last I checked we’re not really searching for a reason why our market took off. Huge verifiable increase in Vancouver buyers last year combined with locals panicking.

  62. “foreign-buyer-tax-still-working-as-expected”

    I want to puke everytime I real this topic headline. Friends of mind are trying right now to buy a house in Gordon Head area and they can’t because they are getting outbid everytime by Asian families. Now the reason I say Asian families is because they know this from their realtor and they have personally known the owners of two sales in the last two months. In both cases there were over 15 offers in delayed offer situations and well over 50% of the offers were from Asian families. Now I can’t tell you for sure that all 50% of those were foreign buyers but let’s get real here… they are not local families. When they are driving high end Mercedes and BMWs and some don’t even look at the house and just have their agent looking at it for them they have money to burn and I would be willing to bet my left nut that their is some tie to foreign money.

    Believe what you want but the foreign money is still flowing in and flowing in under the radar. Well at least the radar that gets to that statistics being published about the foreign buyers.

    Start a new topic cause this one was stupid and misleading. Fake news is what this topic was. Find an honest realtor and ask them how many offers are from Asian families. Use your own judgement if the cash theses families are using to throw crazy money at home is earned in Canada. I would bet my right nut that it’s not.

  63. “What does a foreign buyer have to gain by disguising the fact they are buying here?

    Nothing that I can see.”

    How about the obvious fact that they are smuggling the money in here in the first place and don’t want the Chinese government to know as little as possible. My God.

  64. What does a foreign buyer have to gain by disguising the fact they are buying here?

    Nothing that I can see. In addition, incorporating a company to disguise that you are foreign buyer to save the 15% PTT also makes no sense given the capital gains tax rates for corporations.

    What does make financial sense is having a Canadian family member who is resident on title. There are probably a number of homes purchased this way. No PTT and full tax exemption on profits. And it would not be reported as a foreign buyer transaction.

  65. and a total ban on Vacation rentals…. the last being most important.

    I don’t think any development going forward will get vacation rentals for long long time.

  66. “I support policies that will make oil and gas more expensive for me and for others”

    Agree. My only caveat is that every good & service we consume is delivered by some sort of vehicle – semi-trailers, delivery vans, cars, etc. Prices for everything go up when we have a blanket tax on oil and gas.

    That’s why we also need more gov’t incentives for electric vehicles and research, and also tax breaks for truckers – who have already have a hard time breaking even.
    eg., http://insideevs.com/nikola-one-unveiled-hydrogen-electric-semi-truck-with-320-kwh-battery-pack-is-production-bound-in-2020/

  67. They should allow the thirty stories if it includes a certain percentage of two bedrooms, kid friendly public space, and a total ban on Vacation rentals…. the last being most important.

  68. I support policies that will make oil and gas more expensive for me and for others, so that I am—and more of us are—induced to make positive changes.

    I agree.

  69. Just want to point out road cyclists who are using the roads to train and for sports do not have to use bike lanes at all. They often average over 30kph and can reach speeds of 50-60kph, you wouldn’t want them sharing the bike lane/sidewalk with pedestrians and commuter cyclists.

    Again, this is incorrect. This is the law in Ontario and not here. Here ALL cyclists have to stay to the right no matter what speed they are travelling. In Ontario they are not slow-moving vehicles if they are travelling the posted speeds and so do not have to stay to the right. Here section 183 requires everyone riding a bicycle to stay to the right no matter what speed they are going. If there were separate extensions of sidewalks for cyclists the rules would need to change for those that are training. They’d probably need to have designated laneways on specific roads for this.

    The MVA was made for cars and then adapted for bikes, but the adaptation could use some work. I don’t think it is a bad thing that cyclists have to stay to the right in BC. I think it is a bad thing that our cities are not properly set up for safe biking. Biking is clearly superior to cars in so many ways yet it is not a priority to create bike-friendly streets for some reason.

    There is a 6.2x greater risk of dying if you are cycling vs. driving because cyclists are more vulnerable in accidents – and risk of serious injury is also higher. Seems to me we should be putting more thought into safety given the health and economic benefits. Surprisingly, the average age of a cyclist fatality is 41 and 87% of cycling deaths are males.
    http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/crash-facts.cfm

  70. I wish we would make the sidewalks a lot wider for bike paths that are not part of the roadway.

    I always push for this when Saanich seeks public input. I don’t ride my bike as much as I should, but I push for changes that will induce me to ride my bike more often. If biking is made safer, and if the roads are clogged with cars, then I am more likely to hop on my bike (for the majority of the short trips I do).

    It’s similar to fossil fuels and climate change: I support policies that will make oil and gas more expensive for me and for others, so that I am—and more of us are—induced to make positive changes.

  71. At least the Hudson tower will be rentals thus serving the local need. I would be curious how much of the recent inventory has been sold to speculators, vacation rentals and pied et terres and thus not doing much to help locals. The Janion is probably 90% this. Where the Hudson tower is proposed is exactly where such density should be. It shouldn’t be on Bear Mountain (like was proposed). From the Hudson people can walk, bus and ride bikes. Case in point we are finally out of the house milker’s house in the Mt Tolmie area and in Fairfield. Got in my car to go get dinner for the family to eat amongst the boxes then realized where I was and hopped on my bike….

  72. @totoro
    Just want to point out road cyclists who are using the roads to train and for sports do not have to use bike lanes at all. They often average over 30kph and can reach speeds of 50-60kph, you wouldn’t want them sharing the bike lane/sidewalk with pedestrians and commuter cyclists.

    I have also cycles in many countries, UK, Norway, Holland, France, Italy, Malaysia, Japan but I am not doing a travel blog, I am talking about here in BC.

    3’2″ is not the middle of the lane, I never said it was. However, adding to that the 3’2″ (which is the room required between a car and the cyclist) + the width of the car, takes the driver over the middle of the lane and into the next lane on most city roads. Hence the driver needs to change lanes to safely pass a cyclist!

  73. Find us where in the MVA it says that bicyclists are required to stay in bike lanes.

    The Motor Vehicle Act does not deal with bicycle lanes and paths in any detail, but cyclists are required to stay to the right and where there is a bike lane this likely means they should be in it. Not to say that if there is a hazard or a reason to leave it ie. a turn you can’t leave it.

    There are also many legal reasons a bike might not stay right. Passing another bike, passing a car where legal. Avoiding a hazard. Getting out of a right turn lane. Turning left.

    Agreed.

    Most motorist would think that one metre or 3’2″ from the curb is in the middle of the lane,

    Vehicle lanes typically vary from 9 to 15 feet so 3.2′ is not the middle of the lane. I agree that car drivers need to be careful passing cyclists and give them room. I’m think dooring is a big concern as well.

    Lets face it the more cyclists the less traffic

    Yes. Unfortunately our cities and rules were designed for cars, not bikes. I’ve cycled in Europe and Japan and found it low risk. In Japan bikes share most pedestrian walkways and it works extremely well. In many European cities there are separate bike paths which are not part of the roadway. The way it works in BC I don’t feel particularly safe on the major roadways. Cycling down Shelbourne, for example, is not relaxing. It just wasn’t built for bikes. Or even cycling on Oak Bay Avenue I’m concerned about getting doored.

    if we all parked our bikes and took to our cars you would be delayed far more than the few minutes you have to wait for a cyclist to get back into the gutter where they obviously belong in BC.

    I personally don’t commute and rarely use the car. Occasionally I bike, but mostly I just walk everywhere. Walking is far safer than driving or biking. Driving in Victoria is also much safer than biking, but the risk is still low for biking and likely don’t outweigh the health benefits the exercise brings for people who wouldn’t otherwise get the exercise.

    There is an article here on the life cost of driving. It doesn’t accurately take the stats on accidents into account imo, nor does it compare walking vs. biking and driving (walking is safer and good exercise but impractical for longer distances) but it makes some good points:

    Biking vs. Driving

    Driving a car at 70MPH for one hour:
    •20 minutes of lifespan erased
    •$35.00 per hour of money burned

    Riding a bike at 12MPH for one hour:
    •4.5 hours of lifespan gained
    •$100 of monetary gains secured

    On a Per-Mile Basis:
    •Car: Lose 50 cents and 18 seconds of life
    •Bike: Gain $8.33 and 1350 seconds of life

    http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/#comments

    It sounds like we need protected bike lanes!

    I strongly agree. I wish we would make the sidewalks a lot wider for bike paths that are not part of the roadway.

  74. Moving government jobs out of Victoria would help other communities on the island develop and shift population demand to smaller communities which would be better for everyone.

    The trend has been just the opposite for decades and centuries. More and more people moving to bigger cities.
    I don’t see any way that could be reversed unless jobs become more mobile.

  75. The bike itself is changing. There will be more electric bikes and more enclosed bikes and they will get bigger.

    https://youtu.be/Uos7H4ZFA48

    Unlicensed, uninsured vehicles carrying 140 kilograms at 30 kilometers per hour. A dozen or so on the streets and they are a novelty put a thousand on the streets and they become a hazard to pedestrians and motorists.

  76. For what it’s worth, I like the 20+ story apartment buildings. It’s better than just building condos for investors, and it helps solve the rental crisis. It’s also a good mixed use location, keeps the touristy Inner Harbour intact, and it’s more efficient for the owners to run bigger buildings.

    Victoria needs a “critical mass” of renters & owners for businesses to thrive. They can be employees at downtown businesses in service or tech industries. They can also be customers at all the shops & restaurants. It also cuts down on traffic & pollution to have people walk to work more.

    After seeing how Victoria’s downtown stagnated in the 80s/90s, it’s good to see new life there – good to see tons of locals eating at the cafes.

    The modern & older parts of cities can co-exist within a few kms of each other – especially if you look at successful areas like Vancouver’s West End, Sydney’s Manly, Paris, Nice, or any European city.

    Interesting study: 20 Ingredients of an Outstanding Downtown Destination
    http://www.rogerbrooksinternational.com/20_Ingredients_Handout.pdf
    “The reinvention of downtowns also includes residential upper-story development: condos, loft apartments, downtown hotels and a business mix to support them.”

  77. The simpler solution to population growth is to stop building in Victoria. It has nothing to do with taxes. Not everybody lives in downtown Toronto; in fact very few people do. Moving government jobs out of Victoria would help other communities on the island develop and shift population demand to smaller communities which would be better for everyone.

    But why don’t you and I move to Crofton to assist with this population shift?

  78. Totoro – bike law expert. Find us where in the MVA it says that bicyclists are required to stay in bike lanes.

    There are also many legal reasons a bike might not stay right. Passing another bike, passing a car where legal. Avoiding a hazard. Getting out of a right turn lane. Turning left.

  79. @totoro
    As I quoted the same act I was well aware that cyclist are required to stay to the right. However I say again, that is not alway possible and motorist have to be patient. The laws will change here too as there is an obvious need to offer safe alternate transportation and cycling is an easy first pick.

    This is from Bike Sense BC, published by the GVCC in BC “Motorists are required to pass “at a safe distance” and must not return to the right of the roadway until they have fully passed you. As a general rule, ride approximately one metre from the curb.”

    And for more information:http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/life/drivers-are-responsible-for-passing-cyclists-safely/

    Most motorist would think that one metre or 3’2″ from the curb is in the middle of the lane, add to that the rule that a car is supposed to give the cyclist one metre additional space when passing and there you are in the next lane to pass anyway;)

    Lets face it the more cyclists the less traffic crawl, if we all parked our bikes and took to our cars you would be delayed far more than the few minutes you have to wait for a cyclist to get back into the gutter where they obviously belong in BC.

  80. The simpler solution to population growth is to stop building in Victoria. It has nothing to do with taxes. Not everybody lives in downtown Toronto; in fact very few people do. Moving government jobs out of Victoria would help other communities on the island develop and shift population demand to smaller communities which would be better for everyone.

  81. “Many are instead regulated as mortgage brokers, whose lobbyists have successfully pushed back against several attempts by provincial securities commissions to add another layer of regulation to their industry.
    As recently as 2013, the province backed off moves to introduce new disclosure rules after a backlash from the industry.”

    Agreed oops. Funny how Christy and Libs always bend when the real estate industry applies some “backlash”. Sounds like it translates into “we won’t donate to your party”.

    No accountability of employees just like they did for all the shady agents flipping properties paying no taxes and covering for shady entities. Only in BC eh where the shady foreign dollars flood into the government coffers and they boast what great budgeters they are. Only idiots could blow up multi billions rolling in on property transfer taxes.

  82. So were are these 23,000 thousand people living now? Under the blue bridge? Endless growth is not an answer unless you want to turn Victoria into another American city.

    The Promontory alone, for example, is 177 units….there has been a lot of construction in the last five years to accomodate 23,000 people.

    If you don’t want growth then put in policies to discourage population growth….for example triple property taxes.

    All I am saying is there is a clear problem (lack of accomodation) and the problem needs to be solved. “Victoria doesn’t need highrises,” doesn’t offer a solution to the problem.

    I know that real estate agents love to have more inventory to sell but maybe we just need a lot less real estate agents.

    The Hudson Mews and Hudson Walk I and Hudson Walk II are all towers I strongly supported and all three are appartment buildings.

    I am not hurting for business and certainly wasn’t in 2012-2013-2014 either when the market was slow (I bought my building lot in 2013). Nothing to do with real estate, I would simply rather see quality inventory so people aren’t being ripped off on moldy basement suites. I have friends that rent both in the Mews and the Walk I so I see the clear benefit of such construction when I go hang out with them.

    As far as condos I am listing three in the next few days at Promontory, Astoria, and Railyards and going over the Form Bs I don’t think many units are sitting vacant.

  83. Barrister: Hear, hear! This world could do with significantly less Realtors (oops sorry realtors, I don’t have the trademark symbol to add behind this).

    Such a greasy profession… They do nothing but add to our overinflated house prices. Driving around in a leased Beamer, In a cheap suit, thinking they are god’s gift to the world.

    They lie, they cheat, and they collude together to line their pockets and take wayyyy too much of their clients hard earned money.

    Yes of course they are not all bad people, but my experience has taught me that a significant number of them are lazy and selfish opportunists. Do away with this “profession” and let’s find a better way!!!

  84. I cycle, I drive and times are changing.

    Whether times are changing is irrelevant. What the law actually says is relevant.

    Your first link is correctly to the MVA which states that that:

    183(2) A person operating a cycle
    ..
    (c) must, subject to paragraph (a) (regarding sidewalks), ride as near as practicable to the right side of the highway,

    Where there is any doubt, what is practicable is defined by law. The cyclist cannot just “take the road”. They must stay as close to the right side of the road as possible at all times. If a road is narrow you still need to stay to the right. If there is a hazard of some kind you can go around it and back to the right. It is also a requirement that cars keep a safe distance at all times.

    The MVA is provincial legislation and varies from province to province. Your reader’s digest article quotes an author from TO. The law from Ontario does not apply to BC.

    The Ontario Highway Traffic Act applies to all vehicles including bikes (cycle is included in the definition of vehicle) – there is not a separate section like the MVA s. 183.

    The Ontario law states:

    (1) Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic OR as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway.

    It is the first option, along with the fact that the wording in the law permits vehicles to travel in the right hand lane if they are travelling at the speed of traffic (which some cyclists do) that creates a different legal interpretation. There is no either or option in our law. Stay to the right.

    I know you did not comment on cyclists riding abreast. That was my comment and I indicated this. Incidentally, Ontario and Saskatchewan have no rules prohibiting two-abreast cycling – also unlike BC’s law which states:

    183(2) A person operating a cycle
    ..
    (d) must not ride abreast of another person operating a cycle on the roadway,

    You are not the only cyclist I’ve come across who is operating under the mistaken belief based on Ontario laws and internet information. It is dangerous imo to have some cyclists and drivers not understanding the rules the same way and I wish the police would do more to inform people by sending out information to schools and cycling clubs.

    That all said, good for you for cycling. I’m in favour!

  85. @totoro
    I cycle, I drive and times are changing.

    http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/LOC/complete/statreg/–%20M%20–/47_Motor%20Vehicle%20Act%20%5BRSBC%201996%5D%20c.%20318/00_Act/96318_05.xml#section183
    ‘ride as near as practicable to the right side of the highway’
    What is practicable and safe is up to the cyclist and police to decide. If the side of the road has gravel or drain covers or if the lane is narrow it can be unsafe and impracticable.

    http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/fitness/rules-road-bike-safety/
    Know Your Rights
    “Cyclists have a right to use a part of the roadway, and are allowed to take an entire lane when their safety requires it,”

    Also:https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/transportation/2015/05/15/why-cyclists-take-the-lane.html

    I never mentioned riding two abreast it is something I have never done and never will.

  86. Marko:

    So were are these 23,000 thousand people living now? Under the blue bridge? Endless growth is not an answer unless you want to turn Victoria into another American city.I am sure that at least a million people would love to live in Malibu but you dont see them building a endless wall of high rises.

    I know that real estate agents love to have more inventory to sell but maybe we just need a lot less real estate agents.

  87. What’s the consensus on cost per sq ft at this point? Seems like it’s hovering around what $300?

  88. Bikes can occupy the full lane if they feel they need to but very few do so be happy when you can pass them safely and patient when you can’t.

    This is untrue and dangerous to promote. You will make drivers angry and can be ticketed and fined under the MVA. People riding a bicycle have the same rights and responsibilities as those driving a motor vehicle unless they are riding in a designated bike lane (which they need to stay in). Motor vehicle drivers cannot drive, stand or park in this lane.

    Since bicycles are generally slower than regular traffic, they are supposed to move as far to the right as practicable, as is the case with all slower-moving vehicles under the MVA, so other traffic can safely pass. They cannot arbitrarily take the road when they feel like it and there is no exception for this in the MVA. That said there is also no exception that allows drivers to pass a bicycle when it is dangerous to do so or when they must cross a solid line to do so.

    Rights and duties of operator of cycle
    183 (1) In addition to the duties imposed by this section, a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.

    Cyclists are also not allowed to ride two or more abreast on city streets. A pet peeve of mine are the cycling groups along Dallas and throughout the area doing this. Cyclists can ride two abreast on the shoulder (past the line on the right on highways) or in a bike lane if there is sufficient width.

  89. Really interesting article, Hawk. I guess that it’s a coincidence that Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are/were also the bubbliest provinces.

    “The laws that govern who can sell mortgage investments, as well as who can buy them, also vary dramatically from one province to the next. “The rules surrounding how you can buy [mortgage] investments are just the poster child of the failure of securities regulators to provide consistency and uniformity in the rules across the country,” says Ms. Han, the securities lawyer. “It really is an embarrassment that there are different regimes regulating the way in which MIC investments can be sold and marketed to investors … in B.C., Ontario and Alberta,” she says.
    In Ontario, ordinary investors can put no more than $10,000 into MICS, while wealthier investors and those who receive suitability advice from a registered portfolio manager or dealer have higher limits. In B.C., home to roughly two-thirds of the country’s MICs according to Fundamental Research’s analysis, anyone can invest in MICs and there are no restrictions on how much individuals can invest, beyond the limits that some funds set themselves.
    B.C. is also the only province that doesn’t require MICs and other mortgage investment funds to register as investment or exempt market dealers. That means the companies and their employees are not subject to the same standards and oversight as others in the investment industry. Many are instead regulated as mortgage brokers, whose lobbyists have successfully pushed back against several attempts by provincial securities commissions to add another layer of regulation to their industry.
    As recently as 2013, the province backed off moves to introduce new disclosure rules after a backlash from the industry.”

  90. @Richard Haysom
    Believe me the cyclists feel the frustration too. Motorist, driving their lethal weapons, occasionally decide to overtake and turn immediately in front of cyclists, or pull out from side streets with no concept that some cyclists are going the same speed as the cars.

    https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/transportation/2016/09/23/more-than-1000-cyclists-and-pedestrians-hit-on-toronto-streets-since-june-1.html

    Yes some cyclists are irresponsible and don’t follow the rules of the road in just the same way some motorists do. However, they are far more vulnerable and a collision with a car can be life threatening. Bikes can occupy the full lane if they feel they need to but very few do so be happy when you can pass them safely and patient when you can’t.

  91. Vicbot, the whole article is in that link, it scrolls sideways. No need to sign up for it. Maybe on a phone it doesn’t show it all.

  92. One of life’s biggest pet peeves is having to overtake the same cyclist multiple times in rush hour traffic!

  93. Interesting positive spin on greater fool blog this morning. http://www.greaterfool.ca/ I was really surprised to see this kind of content on there. What an uplift about being Canadian. Look how well we compare to other G7 countries! Our debt level is even below that of the economic powerhouse that props up the rest of Europe- Germany. Garth also talks about the Principle Residence Exemption recently.

    My fav. quote from the article ‘It’s not so bad’: “The point of this is to show that Canada is a pretty amazing place with lots of things going right for it, and that we should step back and recognize many of these great attributes. And what better time to do this with us celebrating our 150th anniversary. O Canada!”

    Ok – a feel good moment, sorry about that, Hawk. I still think, of course, Canada can do better! We need to bring in foreign buyer restrictions nation-wide and put a coordinated National plan together to mostly resolve homelessness. These aren’t lofty unattainable goals or anything. My point about Denmark was – they didn’t wait for foreign buyers to become a problem, they brought in foreign buyer restrictions before it was ever a problem (and now it’s not going to be a problem for them). What duty to we, as Canadians, have – to allow foreign buyers to launder money here in our real estate… none. As a duty to our own citizens and PR’s, we need to restrict foreign buyers.

    As for the increased heights and density downtown – I have mixed feelings on this – I don’t want us becoming another Vancouver, but at the same time we are in desperate need of more housing stock. As long as, like Leo says, they don’t build the tall buildings too close to the harbour, and like Marko said: seems like the perfect spot. I think a few blocks back from the harbour, or over in the centre of Vic West, are good locations for these kind of developments. And, 30 storeys isn’t really all that tall. Unfortunately, I do think the growth here is inevitable, but there is still time to avoid Vancouver’s mistakes.

    We also need increased density along all the major transportation corridors fanning out from the core. Like, three storey row-housing or something like that along Fort St and along other major roads out from the core – in the core, to give people alternatives to SFH or Westshore. Done properly, we can avoid becoming another ‘American city.’ I don’t think we’re ever going to look like an American city anyway – our city is just not laid out that way. We are actually laid out more like many European cities.

    Moving forward, and probably already the case now, for many, and just like in Van or TO and many other cities around the world, the SFH in the core will be an un-attainable dream. If you missed buying in before this latest boom – you missed the boat on that one. Alternatives to SFH are clearly needed.

  94. Interesting article, Hawk, on the MICs (can’t read the whole thing – I’ll have to sign up now!)

    Bikes aren’t the only answer to reduce traffic congestion:
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140611-can-we-ever-end-traffic-jams

    Added to that, we’re always going to need delivery trucks, tour buses, people with mobility issues, independent contractors going to business meetings carrying equipment, people picking up kids after work, safety concerns with 3 months of winter darkness, business & gov’t workers going to work in formal attire, etc.

    Also I now have zero patience for cyclists who think they’re God’s gift to the city after one of them almost knocked down my 86-year-old mom walking with a cane (he was going too fast on a bike route and ignored the pedestrian intersection – he didn’t stop. Seems like he thought cyclists were the only ones “worthy” enough to be on the road.)

  95. or want to take the risk of being smoked by a car or killed. Not everyone wants to sweat their ass off before a hard day at the office either.

    Everyone makes their own choices and has to live with them.

  96. Vicbot,
    As per the MIC article it’s important to note that BC is the only province to allow them to not register as an investment or exempt market dealers which means no oversight like the rest of the investment industry.

    All the examples of them collapsing is when they all want their money and start to pull out en mass. You can only imagine how much foreign money has to be in these in BC with zero oversight and most probably don’t even understand what they are invested in as the articles states.

  97. “So I don’t see any reason to use the “corporate loophole” in Victoria. We don’t have a 15% tax to avoid (yet).”

    The lawyer Christine Duhaime mentioned that the use of corporate entities to buy RE is on the rise in BC. Foreign investors everywhere in BC have probably gotten advice to be proactive about this, no matter which city they decide to buy in.

    There are both local & international speculators – both can cause harm. However, what concerns me about international ones is that if Canada gets a reputation for being lax on crime or taxes, then it’s easy for us to be taken advantage of (as is already happening anyway)

  98. Not an easy solution if you don’t like riding in past 6 months of rain, snow and freezing cold. This assumption that everyone is capable of riding a bike is getting ridiculous too. Many have physical ailments, nor the physical balance skills, or want to take the risk of being smoked by a car or killed. Not everyone wants to sweat their ass off before a hard day at the office either.

  99. Shocking report in the Globe today how the mortgage investment business is sucking in billions of sheep promising them 9 to 15% consistent earnings while they have no idea the super high risk products they are investing in.

    No doubt when this house of cards blows up, this will be one of the first catalysts. They appear to be well entrenched in Victoria too.

    How to Lose Money in Real Estate

    https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-bc-edition/20170401/281487866192317

  100. Easy solution to traffic. Ride your bike downtown. Too far? Ride an electric bike.

    Oooor sit in traffic for an hour. Your choice.

  101. If you work downtown or need to get over the bridge I think you are forced to.

    If you have to commute downtown for work I think the downtown portion is the least of your problems.

    I feel like there are solutions to this component of the problem though. Why does BC Ferries have to be right downtown in Class A office space? Would it make any difference if there were in Langford or an industrial/commercial area in North Saanich?

  102. @Barrister

    Thanks. Good point. However when shares are sold this is all documented and put through a lawyer. The status of the corp would change from CCC to a foreign controlled one (treated much differently for tax purposes). Seems pretty easy to catch anyone attempting such a thing.

    Thing is, the tax situation is even worse if it’s not a Canadian controlled corp. So even more of the capital gain on selling will be taxed. There’s no using the primary residence exemption when you’re a corp, so any gains will be taxed heavily and even more so by not being a CCC.

    It really doesn’t seem a very efficient way of speculating. Abusing the primary residence seems a lot more efficient. Even holding the property as a second property and paying capital gains as an individual is more efficient due to how capital gains is taxed on individuals. So I don’t see any reason to use the “corporate loophole” in Victoria. We don’t have a 15% tax to avoid (yet).

  103. Barrister, our brilliant city leaders say density is needed in the core. I believe this is in order to increase the tax coffers, not for the sake of the city.

    Seeing a new development at every corner you turn is an indicator of a bubble peaking. Wait til when the next global shock soon comes and all the foreign money invested here pulls out.

    Another price slash in Rockland of $100K. 1513 Laurel Lane

  104. “and yes driving down town is more congested but no one forces me to go downtown.”

    If you work downtown or need to get over the bridge I think you are forced to.

  105. Just read the April 1st 2007 blog “April Fools Came Late?” I wonder, is this a déjà vu moment?

  106. This is the third large tower they want to do in in a span of a couple of years.

    1st tower rented out before occupancy.

    2nd tower almost finished and website is up for rentals -> http://www.hudsondistrict.ca/ (one bedrooms starting from $1,395 which actually isn’t half bad compared to some of the dumpy suite rentals I am seeing lately). I am sure they will rent it out before occupancy.

    3rd tower – more inventory whether it be rental or condos.

    When I read the Reddit threads about the rental crisis not sure how one can argue against a tower like this…..and it is on Blanshard of all places at the edge of downtown. Seems like a perfect spot for a taller building.

    We need more towers or we need to ask the 23,000 people that have recently moved to Victoria to leave.

    and yes driving down town is more congested but no one forces me to go downtown.

  107. Victoria is at a cross road were it has to decide if it is about to be turned into one more American city. In a mere four years I have noticed a real change in the city and not for the better.

    I just don’t see it affecting me. I live in Saanich and I almost never go downtown. Whether the towers are 20 or 50 stories I can’t see what the impact would be as long as its a reasonable buildup from the lower rise harbour.

  108. What I find interesting is this concern with foreign buyers is so focussed on individual property purchasers.

    Yet you overlook the Vancouver/Toronto developers who drool over Victoria (ie, Townline, GWL Realty Advisors) and market to outsiders while they develop places like Royal Bay and the Hudson Place.

    Do you really think they only post placards in Victoria?

    (case in point, a purchaser of pre- Lyra developments currently rents in Victoria until their condo is done, and they are from Vancouver.)

  109. I am sure that people here have read the headlines that they want a 30 story condo downtown on the Hudson Bay parking lot. I am sure that they will settle for 25 or 22. Victoria is at a cross road were it has to decide if it is about to be turned into one more American city. In a mere four years I have noticed a real change in the city and not for the better.

    I really believe that we need a new city council that has a different vision for Victoria that is built on the belief that there a limits to growth and that making a a few developers rich is not the way to go. The downtown is already beginning to resemble a wall of high rises.

  110. numbers hack, where are you finding that data on Denmark & Norway.

    The data I found shows detached homes in Denmark rose 3.6% compound annual appreciation from 1992 to 2016 (from 5,000 DKK/sq m to 12,000/sq m (and flats rose 6.5% over same period)
    http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Europe/Denmark/Price-History

    Also Norway’s prices are currently falling and prices have fluctuated from -10% to +15% since 2000.
    http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Europe/Norway

  111. Denmark and Norway: Why are these people so happy? I don’t know.

    1/ Since 1992 to 2016, Norway RE has gone up 600% as a whole.
    – That is roughly 20% compounded appreciation annually for the last 23 years.
    – Population change has gone from 4.2MM to 5.2MM over same period or about 1.5% annually
    – Home ownership is 80%

    2/ Since 1992 to 2016, Denmark RE has gone up 375% as a whole
    – That is roughly 12% compounded appreciation annually for the last 23 years.
    – Population change has gone from 5.2MM to 5.7MM over same period or about 0.3% annually
    – Home ownership is 50%

    Denmark/Norway has very restrictive RE policies, very little foreign participation, but their RE has appreciated significantly without outside intervention. Other posters have alluded these people are the happiest in the world BUT there is a 30% differential in ownership rates between the 2 countries and Canada sits at 70%.

  112. Zero discussion about lack of study guide and many other issues surrounding this exam.

    You’re missing the point Marko. The exam was designed to destroy the owner builders and push people into hiring a licensed builder. It works exactly as intended.

  113. Update on the owner builders:
    https://youtu.be/LbeSz7l2xTQ?t=8m30s

    Some facts:
    Only 1/3 of the applicants have passed the exam so far of the 1211 applicants. 1/3 are waiting to take the exam, and 1/3 were denied or withdrew their applications.
    2017 Jan/Feb compared to 2016 Jan/Feb, owner builder approvals are down 50%

    What’s mind boggling is she also says “it is working quite well,” while I receive daily emails like the one below (received this morning). Zero discussion about lack of study guide and many other issues surrounding this exam. I just can’t believe this is for real and my tax dollars are funding it. There is literally ZERO accountability! I’ve received in the neighbourhood of 1,000 emails and they’ve only received 1211 applications which means 80% of applicants in B.C. are contacting me for help……uggghhhhh something is utterly wrong but they spin it as “it is working quite well.” What on earth…

    hey marko, my wife and i with our 2 year old son sold both of our houses to move to a lakefront cabin just outside of [removed so HPO doesn’t hunt them down], this is an old original cabin that needs to be torn down to build our dream home. the same day we handed in all permits, along with blueprints and fees to regional district was when they told me about this owner builder exam. for some reason they waited till the last minute to tell me. we are set to tear down this house on april first but now all machinery is on hold untill i can pass this test. like everyone else in your videos, i am pissed. been whatching your shows for a couple days and i feel a bit better about it now. if there is anything you can send me to help with this test my family and i would appreciate it. i didnt realize the tole this would take on a person. i am not the type to be stressed out or an angry person but every day that we are not building because of this test takes its tole on our marriage and my work life. makes me feel like a failure when were getting further away from building rather than closer. we rented a house to live in while we build close to us. as of april first we are paying rent on one house and cant tear down old one untill i know i can replace it. things are not good in our house right now. my experience with money grabs is that they usually give you what you want and take your money. i cant believe they are trying to fail people. anyway, i will take any help you can give me. thanks

  114. Pretty hilarious article db. Big debt, no problemo, unless rates spike which they are 3 more times this year. Benny Tal is always there to say keep on borrowing your brains out, until you can’t.

    Yep Benny, there’s no subprime lending in Canada like the US did. Bullshit.

    ‘Joe Schmo’ lenders double stake in Canada’s mortgage market

    Alternative lenders in Canada have doubled their share of the residential mortgage market in the past decade, increasing risks in the housing sector where they operate with limited federal government oversight.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/joe-schmo-lenders-double-stake-in-canadas-mortgage-market/article31981959/

  115. Update on the owner builders:
    https://youtu.be/LbeSz7l2xTQ?t=8m30s

    Some facts:
    Only 1/3 of the applicants have passed the exam so far of the 1211 applicants. 1/3 are waiting to take the exam, and 1/3 were denied or withdrew their applications.
    2017 Jan/Feb compared to 2016 Jan/Feb, owner builder approvals are down 50%

    Clearly the policy is having the intended effect of decimating owner builders. In fact Wendy admits this: “Of course what we want to see happening is more licensed builders being approved”.

  116. “So why didn’t they do that in Vancouver? Foreign buyer percentage was huge there”

    Because they didn’t see the foreign buyers tax coming…again pretty simply. If there is no reason to hide it (Vancouver before the foreign buyers tax) then you don’t need to hide it. Now there is tax so people try and hide it.

  117. Well if people are being truthful then everyone would see that the percentage of foreign buyers is much higher and then there might be risk that a tax might come into play

    So why didn’t they do that in Vancouver? Foreign buyer percentage was huge there

  118. “There is no foreign buyer tax in Victoria. What does a foreign buyer have to gain by disguising the fact they are buying here”

    Well if people are being truthful then everyone would see that the percentage of foreign buyers is much higher and then there might be risk that a tax might come into play. The realtors don’t want it and neither do the foreign buyers. So it’s better to not show you are a foreign buyer. Pretty simple.

  119. re: stress test. it hasn’t affected us except for when we put in an offer where the assessment was a lot lower than our offer. house was assessed at 565 or something like that and our offer was low 700s. we didn’t get pre-approval for that offer. just meant the bank had to assess it before mortgage would be approved. but it doesn’t matter, cuz that house sold for 850.

  120. Anyone that believes foreign buyers are actually as low as being reported are clueless. They are not idiots and they know the many ways around it. The list of workarounds is endless and anyone that thinks otherwise needs to give their head a shake

    There is no foreign buyer tax in Victoria. What does a foreign buyer have to gain by disguising the fact they are buying here?

  121. I’m just wondering why the stress test for mortgages introduced last October doesn’t seem to have done anything to help cool the market?

    It may well have done a bit but hard to isolate the effect of each factor. There was a discussion on VV from a buyer that was going to buy but the stress test forced her out of the market so it is sidelining some buyers.

  122. I’m just wondering why the stress test for mortgages introduced last October doesn’t seem to have done anything to help cool the market?

    People get around rules…parents help, not everyone was buying at their absolute max prior to stress test, etc. Fundamentally interest rates need to go up to cool the market off in my opinion. You can stress all you want but the payment for a $500,000 mortgage is the same today as it was a year ago.

  123. I’m just wondering why the stress test for mortgages introduced last October doesn’t seem to have done anything to help cool the market?

  124. Anyone that believes foreign buyers are actually as low as being reported are clueless. They are not idiots and they know the many ways around it. The list of workarounds is endless and anyone that thinks otherwise needs to give their head a shake. Realtors and everyone else that are profiting from higher prices will turn a blind eye and say that it’s working just to make sure no additional measures are taken. Believe what you want but there is still a huge inflow of foreign money and it’s quietly buying up condo pre sales and even regular listings.

    I can’t wait until realtors jack their fees even more cause they are upset that they have to take a few extra steps to ensure their clients are actually residents. What a joke.

    Good on the realtors though cause Most real estate agents graduated from being car salesman, and then the lucky ones become investment advisors. And we all know the smart ones in school became car Salemen right?

  125. After seven consecutive months of falling sales volumes, finally sales have increased in February and March. This month sales are up 26% from February. New listings are up 40% and Active Listings are up 4%. That has driven the median price up by $40,000 between February and March.

    But that’s for the overall market. When you break things down into market segments the story is not all skyrockets and Elton John songs. Despite low inventory, prices in some sub markets are not increasing while others soar. Some sub markets have even slightly declined in price.

    This is for you Barrister. How the median house price for the premium hoods of Oak Bay, Fairfield, James Bay and Rockland have changed over the last 12 months.

    Month Sale Price, Median
    Apr 2016 $999,500
    May 2016 $881,000
    Jun 2016 $933,500
    Jul 2016 $880,000
    Aug 2016 $980,080
    Sep 2016 $1,065,000
    Oct 2016 $942,500
    Nov 2016 $965,000
    Dec 2016 $1,300,500
    Jan 2017 $910,500
    Feb 2017 $1,003,000
    Mar 2017 $989,000

    .And the same by primary year rather than month

    Primary Year Sale Price, Median
    2012 $719,000
    2013 $687,500
    2014 $715,500
    2015 $740,000
    2016 $950,000
    2017 $935,000 does not include March

  126. Bingo:

    I have not investigated it but to avoid the foreign tax I am not sure that it has to be Canadian controlled. Even if it has to be Canadian controlled at the time of purchase there is nothing that says it has to be Canadian controlled at the time of sale. Get a Canadian to hold 51% but have the foreigner have an option to purchase his shares later at one dollar a share. There is always a way around it.

  127. Anyone else here going to pay $700 Sq Ft for the Twin Towers across from the homeless center ? Got to be brain dead.

    I’m pretty sure the exact same thing was said about China Town in Vancouver…

  128. “If you build more, more speculators will buy them. Supply side won’t be solved until rampant speculation and money parking is reduced first.”

    Agreed TallGuy, until the free money and speculation gets a shock, the FOMO will keep buying and foreigners/insiders flippers will keep soaking up any new condo stock. I think that point of shock is coming sooner than later.

    Also noticing more condos in my area with more lights off in prime time hours which only tells me the flippers/hoarders are dominating the supply. They can build their brains out but it won’t solve anything.

    Just driving around town in the congestion at every turn from mass panic to spend the easy bucks ASAP is a sign this is coming to an end very soon. Anyone else here going to pay $700 Sq Ft for the Twin Towers across from the homeless center ? Got to be brain dead.

  129. If we assume that all of those purchases are happening in the core of Victoria, and exclude sales from outside the core, what is the % then?

    Variants of this question are common. I would argue the foreign buyer data isn’t terribly meaningful or reliable.

    IMO, the problem has never been the foreign buyer, it’s foreign money. At the moment, there really isn’t a good way of determining how many “local” or “Canadian” buyers are buying with money generated outside of our economy.

    Until we have that (such as via income tax data), the charts showing the activity would seem to border on meaningless.

    In countries with significant corruption, laws are often construed as a call to be more creative/evasive, not a call to stop what you’re doing.

  130. “Some argue that building luxury condos pushes down the price of older condos in the surrounding neighborhoods. In markets like Vancouver, Toronto, and Victoria that is patently false. I paid $100k more for my condo …”

    TallGuy, agree with most of what you’re saying. Related to the older condos, people are just referring to a different timeframe. The $100k increase was in a 2-year rising market. What they’re talking about occurs over >15 years. An older condo will still go up in value, but there’s a lot more competition as densities increase, so prices slowly adjust for the ones that developers aren’t spending their $$ promoting.

    eg., I’m 50, so I’ve been watching RE since the 80s, and have seen the lifecycle of condos, and talked to realtors & friends who’ve seen/experienced these same things (and condos can be great. I personally bought an older condo in Van a long time ago)

    Here’s what we’ve seen for condo lifecycles:

    First 5 years: a bunch of new condos are built in a trendy neighbourhood, not many strata by-laws, in-fashion fixtures, developers tout “hip new lifestyle!!”

    Next 10 years: as strata councils see maintenance issues with the buildings, they always introduce more by-laws, be it for pets or rentals or general use of common property – always in an effort to “maintain property values!” Then there’s a market downturn. Condos stop being built for a while.

    Next 10 years: Market goes into an upswing, new condos are built around “new” trendy neighbourhoods, with “new” fixtures, developers tout “hardly any strata rules!” – people are paying high prices for “newness”. Meanwhile older condos are experiencing things like: special assessments, replacement of pipes or roofs, renovations to get rid of old décor, etc. Older condos have to compete against the brand new properties without no maintenance or by-laws, so they lower their prices, especially during the next downturn, when there’s an over-supply.

    Next 10 years: Cycle repeats. (what used to be new becomes old)

    That’s exactly why it’s hard to know what’s going on with prices if a condo market is a mix between old & new – their ages & maintenance histories are critical. But probably most critical is location.

    Anyway hard to describe in a blog post 🙂

  131. If we assume that all of those purchases are happening in the core of Victoria, and exclude sales from outside the core, what is the % then?

  132. Deb

    I personally know Chinese buyers who have purchased property through companies they have set up.

    So presumably 50%+ of the shares are owed by a Canadian, right? That’s what’s required for a Canadian controlled corp. I’ve set one up before with foreign shareholders.

    So Canadians own the majority of the company and hence they control to sell or do what they want with the company assets, not foreigners.

    Or is there some way you can skirt the laws with less than 50% Canadian ownership of the company?

    Capitals gains within a corp are taxed pretty high. Average 47% tax of the taxable portion. If you consider that against the whole that’s 23% tax before the shareholders pay taxes on dividends (presumably where the profit will go). So we’re talking a serious amount of tax. I’m pretty sure my avg tax rate is less than that.

    I can’t see it worth speculating in that manner. But I’m no accountant, so I may have got the tax angle wrong. I’m sure someone more educated in such things will rush in to correct me.

    Foreigners are allowed to invest in Canadian REITs.. how is investing in a Canadian corp that buys RE any different?

    Shouldn’t we be targeting all speculators? Housing stock shouldn’t be traded like the stock market. Domestic speculators shouldn’t get a break.

    Why don’t we tax all non-primary house purchases at 15%? Want an investment property? 15%. Want a vacation home? 15%. That’d tame housing prices really quickly.

  133. Re. the Foreign tax debate. Here’s what I think: Vancouver waited too long to implement the tax. Now, do we make the same mistake Vancouver did? Really? So far, in Vancouver, it’s having an effect – mostly on the high end properties. Question is, will that remain the case moving forward?

    Toronto should’ve done something about this issue ages ago – they have waited too long. I think that they will act soon, and then the problem could be pushed more to Calgary and Victoria.

    Here’s how other jursidictions in the world have attempted to confront the problem… has it worked for them? In short… not really… in all cases more needs to be done.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/how-other-countries-have-tried-to-deter-foreign-real-estate-investors/article31128696/

    So now, lets take a look at a success story… Let’s take a look at what Denmark is doing… named the ‘happiest country on earth’ time and time again; source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/denmark-happiest-country_n_4070761.html

    Denmark and Norway constantly vie for top position as the world’s ‘happiest countries’. Why? These countries are happy because they have: A sense of social support, freedom to make life choices and a culture of generosity (we in BC only have one of these – that’s freedom to make life choices – social supports and generosity are very limited here).

    They are bastions of ethical and socially responsible, and happy caring citizens. Homelessness is virtually non existent. Everyone is taken care of or helped if they fall on hard times through no fault of their own. And finally – important to this discussion: in Denmark foreign (non-EU) ownership is tightly restricted… Imagine if we followed a similar path… not just taxes on foreigners – but full on restrictions!

    From: https://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/othr/ics/2012/191137.htm

    Heres how Denmark controls foreign ownership of real estate:
    “There are certain restrictions on foreigners’ acquisition of real estate in Denmark. EU citizens and companies from EU member states can purchase any type of real estate except vacation properties without prior authorization from the authorities. Companies and individuals from non-EU countries that have been present/resident in Denmark for at least five years in total and are currently resident in Denmark can also purchase real estate except vacation properties without prior authorization. Non-EU companies or individuals that do not meet these requirements can only purchase real estate with the permission of the Danish Ministry of Justice. Permission is freely given to people with a Danish residency permit, except with regard to purchases of vacation properties. Purchases of designated vacation properties are restricted to citizens of Denmark. See section regarding limits on foreign ownership and control in certain sectors for further information”.

    Conclusion:

    Should we wait until Foreign buyers are really a big problem in Victoria? Or should we act now before it becomes a problem and starts to destroy the social fabric of our city just like Vancouver and Toronto are being damaged or destroyed? I say – act now before it’s too late. And restrict ownership, don’t just tax it, because taxing it won’t be enough.

    What do I really think will happen though… maybe, after the election, the 15% tax will eventually be expanded here, maybe not. Restrictions seems to be a dream but it would solve the problem before it even becomes a problem. What’s to debate about that?

  134. Well, I guess this challenges some of the notions regarding Alberta’s “stickiness” and “stability”.

    http://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/topstories/alberta-insolvency-rate-jumps-34percent-as-upward-trend-continues/ar-BBz7Uus

    “The agency’s report for 2016 showed that personal bankruptcies were up about 26.8 per cent, while consumer proposals — a legally binding process, administered by a trustee, where debtors make an offer to creditors to pay back a percentage of what is owed — increased by 40 per cent over 2015.”

  135. Developers wanted smaller and smaller units in order to maximize profits and investors wanted the small units for vacation rentals. Now we have 18 or 20 downtown condominium towers zoned for transient vacation rentals. That’s about 500 to a 1,000 condos that were built and did nothing to ease the housing shortage or month to month vacancy rate.

    All the time these buildings were being built we were told that this would solve our housing problem. And that city hall had to allow for smaller condominium, property tax relief and higher towers. That only by building more condominiums would we solve the affordability problem in the city.

    I guess we were fooled.

  136. The supply side argument is such a false statement.

    Friends and families of the developer are given the first choice of condo and townhome units prior to pre-sales. Speculators and some future owners buy up the rest during pre-sales. By the time the units are constructed no units or only the least desirable ones remain.

    Not to mention what is being built: batchelors, 1 bd, and 2 bd units, with 2 bd starting at $650k. Nothing for families with more than one child, and a 2 bd mortgage uses up most of a median income.

    Some argue that building luxury condos pushes down the price of older condos in the surrounding neighborhoods. In markets like Vancouver, Toronto, and Victoria that is patently false. I paid $100k more for my condo than the seller who purchased it two years ago.

    Just look at Coal Harbour, Richmond, or any new condo tower in GVRD. Tons of empty condos, lights off, all owned, as rich speculators bought them all up. All sold off during pre-sales.

    I believe I read a few weeks ago that housing starts was equal to migration in Victoria. If that’s the case, why the housing shortage?

    If you build more, more speculators will buy them. Supply side won’t be solved until rampant speculation and money parking is reduced first.

  137. What’s a week without a harangue on Toronto housing?

    (From Doug Porter, BMO Talking Points, March 31, 2017)

    I spent the past week listening to presentations, sitting at roundtables, and reading opinion pieces where the received wisdom was that fixing the supply side is the answer to Toronto’s sizzling housing market. I respectfully disagree. No doubt, policymakers should do what they can to alleviate supply constraints, and a shortage of listings is helping send prices skyward. But, history teaches us that in an overheated market, or what some (ahem) may even call a bubble, we have to look first at cooling demand. Otherwise, with prices screaming higher by 20%-to-30% per year, any moderate increase in housing supply will be swallowed whole in the great maw of raging demand.

    To wit…

    Do you think that the best response to the Dutch Tulip Bubble in 1637 was to cultivate more land and grow more tulips?

    Do you think that the problem in the South Sea Bubble in 1720 was a lack of supply in the shares of the doomed company?

    Do you think the best response to the Dot-com Bubble of 1999 was an increased supply of shares of Pets.com or Toys.com?

    Do you think the best remedy to the U.S. housing bubble in 2006 was to build yet more homes in Vegas, Phoenix and Florida?

    In each and every case the answer is an emphatic “no!”—the problem was overly exuberant demand. This is not to suggest that Toronto housing is in the same league as those big bubbles, but we don’t want to get anywhere close to hose episodes. And, any adjustments on the supply side will take years to affect real change in the market, while we are dealing with an inferno here and now. Along those same lines, many continue to push against measures to calm demand, arguing “we need more data”, especially on non-resident purchases. But what could the data possibly tell us to change the obvious prescription?

    Three points:

    —The data will not be fixed in stone. The percentage of homes bought by non-residents will not be a stable series; it will swing around month by month, but we know it is at least a factor driving prices.

    —The data will be imperfect in any event, being based on surveys. And even when we know the data, what is the appropriate response to different results? Is 2% worth imposing a tax? 4%? 6%?

    —And, if it’s as high as 10%, is that so high that a tax could threaten the stability of the market?

    Bottom Line: There is real urgency in the situation, before prices soar dangerously higher and this becomes a big bubble. Only steps to control demand can offer near term relief.

  138. I’d be looking for surprise Canadian interest rate hikes by fall if the economy shows similar numbers.

    From Deb’s article:

    “Another downside risk is from the housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto, where many economists see a bubble about to pop.”

  139. Would be interesting know how many of the foreign buyers were paying well over the asking prices. This may lead to signs of money laundering if they’re that desperate to get in to our market. Time for a province wide foreign tax, this is a global disease.

  140. Thank you Vitbot, your links show the reality of the situation. I personally know Chinese buyers who have purchased property through companies they have set up. Anyone watching this market with an unbiased view have seen the effect foreign buyers are having. If the market is to be controlled we need the 15% foreign buyer tax across BC and proof of personal Canadian tax payment records. I am not at all against foreign investment in the housing market but lets try to make it a little more fair for Canadians.

  141. People also need to know how some foreign investors are – to this day – are setting up companies so they don’t appear in those stats – and it’s increasing.

    eg., http://www.cknw.com/2017/01/01/258895/
    lawyer Christine Duhaime, an expert on money laundering and Asian real estate investment says “foreign investors are still skirting the rules”

    “People will get together and set up a corporation of British Columbia so that it’s a company or companies that are being setup here and then buying real estate to ensure the purchasing entity is quote-on-quote ‘enough Canadian’ not to trigger the tax payment.”

    “They can make arrangements so that the person that is buying the home is not the one who shows up on paper as being a foreign national”

    “And until the province helps banks and realtors grasp money laundering she says it won’t stop.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/vancouver/out-of-the-shadows/article31802994/
    “Demetre Lazos says he couldn’t just stand by and watch real-estate speculation, as he puts it, destroy his city. Convinced that his boss, a local speculator, was dodging taxes and misleading lenders, he decided to act, approaching both the police and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to divulge what he knows … and yet, as he tells it, both the cops and the tax men blew him off”

    “Mr. Gu and others have created a unique market in which they hold properties long enough for them to rise significantly in value … One of those homes sat vacant for three years, in a city where many people can’t find a place to live. ”

    Vancouver Firms Offers Clients New Identities
    http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2073180/vancouver-firm-offers-clients-new-identities-its

    “its clients have included two Chinese fraudsters involved in the theft of more than US$485 million from the Bank of China, which was laundered through the Vancouver real estate markets and Las Vegas casinos between 1991 and 2004 … each received sentences of more than 20 years, and are still imprisoned in the US). “

  142. I’ve harped on this before, but by only giving the foreign buyers number for the CRD, the government is misrepresenting the effects of foreign buyers in Victoria. ~%5 of total CRD sales is likely 10% of all sales in the core. I don’t expect that many foreign people would buy property in the West Shore.

    In summary, what I’m speculating is that foreigners make up about 10% of all sales in the core, and probably ~1% in all other areas.

    Further to that, there were record sales last year and the proportion of foreign buyers remained fairly consistent. So although the percentage of foreign buyers remained the same, the number of foreign buyers grew significantly.

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