Lynda Steele: I own a condo in Vancouver and I’m a DINK
Global News Radio 980 CKNW will host a live special dedicated to examining B.C.’s housing crisis on Friday, June 28 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
I’m in one of those “double income, no kids” kinda relationships. No kids — not even a dog. Decent income times two. I should be living in a mansion in Shaughnessy, right? Champagne dreams and caviar wishes?
This housing market here is seriously messed up, and I don’t think it’s ever going to recover. Politicians in Metro Vancouver can’t even define the word “affordable.” Believe me, we’ve asked.
A rental cost of $2,500 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with no oven? Not affordable. “Could I interest you in a 280-square-foot micro-suite in Gastown? The whole city is your backyard!” Good try.
The advocacy group Generation Squeeze at the University of British Columbia estimates Vancouver incomes would have to double and housing prices would need to drop by 75 per cent to get millennials to a place where they could afford to buy a modest home.
WATCH: CKNW live special on B.C. housing crisis preview
If housing prices dropped 75 per cent, a whole lot of homeowners in Metro Vancouver would need to get out the scuba gear because that’s underwater territory when it comes to mortgage debt.
If you’re one of the many people desperately hoping the bubble is going to burst, well, you’re cheerleading for a devastating provincial recession that means job losses, program and service cuts and misery for hundreds of thousands of your fellow British Columbians.
I know you’re mad about housing. I’m mad too — and remember, I’m a DINK. I find it expensive to live in this awesome province, too. I literally couldn’t imagine getting by on minimum wage or one salary or being the parent of two. It’s not fair; I get it. We’ve got a record number of homeless people sleeping rough.
You want someone to blame? Well, there’s a whole lot of finger-pointing we can do in Metro Vancouver.
Let’s start with the BC Liberals. In 2015, they were singing, “Roll out the barrel!” and counting the billions in real estate-related cash flooding into provincial coffers.
They chirped that the economy was thriving leading up to the 2017 provincial election.
When we in the media, and others, like then-NDP MLA David Eby and data analyst Andy Yan, pointed out that there seemed to be an inordinate amount of unchecked global cash from China fuelling the Metro real estate fire, we were told, “Well, that sounds racist!”
The people cashing in on the real estate inferno were desperate to keep the good times rolling. If that meant trying to discredit the messenger, so be it.
Remember that horrible story a couple of years back when a young boy was caught in the crossfire of a gang dispute in East Vancouver? John Daly and I interviewed a guy who literally dodged a bullet that day that had lodged in his vehicle’s headrest.
It was a dramatic interview, immediately followed by an email from a fake account saying: “Lynda, I hear the boy who died was Chinese. Good for you! Thanks to your stirring up hatred of Chinese investment, there’s one fewer Chinese person in Vancouver to worry about!” I tried to reply to the sender but it was a fake email address, so I decided to delete it instead.
I was furious that someone, upset they might lose a few grand in a real estate deal, could actually try playing the race card in a such an unspeakable tragedy. Disgusting. I’ve never been so enraged in my life by an email.
Well, we were right.
There was a lot of dirty business going on in the real estate market, a lot of unchecked global wealth, a lot of people taking advantage of loopholes big enough to drive a semi truck full of foreign cash through, developers marketing their condo stock overseas, and it all fuelled a massive case of FOMO, with locals running around to open houses on weekends, desperate to find a crappy condo on which they could overbid without even being afforded the opportunity to get a simple inspection report.
WATCH: Is affordable housing realistic in Vancouver?
Trust me, I experienced that first hand.
What’s the solution? Well, lower prices, a balanced market, reasonable interest rates, plenty of loopholes plugged and a better supply of modest, non-luxury housing that a mere mortal can afford. The NDP government has largely put us on the right track. I don’t agree with all their housing measures but I agree with most.
We want answers. I hope we get them on Friday, June 28, when we devote my entire four-hour show to the housing affordability crisis.
My guests include Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote, Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden, Federal Housing Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and many more.
Please. Stop the madness.
WATCH: (October, 2018) New report says housing crisis now firmly rooted in Vancouver suburbs
Lynda Steele is host of The Lynda Steele Show on Global News Radio 980 CKNW in Vancouver.
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