City’s housing affordability problem boils down to too many people on too little land
What drives Vancouver’s house prices so relentlessly to levels four times higher than Winnipeg’s, and more than half again what Torontonians pay?
It’s simple, says Tsur Somerville of UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate.
“If you want Winnipeg-level house prices here, all you have to do is tear down the mountains and fill in the ocean.”
Well, that puts slow or stop to the steady influx of people — though the massive loss of amenities if our landscape were to be suddenly levelled might do that automatically.
“Depending where you draw the circle,” Somerville says, “70 per cent of the land isn’t developable. It’s mountains or water or the United States.”
Then, on top of this insurmountable geographic limitation, add the relentless population growth that, in good years and in bad, ranges from 1.3 to 1.5 per cent a year.
Written by: Don Cayo
Date: August 21, 2010