Cost of Doing Business in Vancouver Real Estate Markets

One week after British Columbians voted to change their government of 16 years Vancouver real estate markets are back in full swing.


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As of the middle of May 2017 the 15% ‘foreign home buyers tax’ introduced in Vancouver in August 2016 and about nine months later in Toronto will not have the intended effect of cooling real estate prices. One week after British Columbians voted to change the government they have supported for 16 years Bloomberg reports Vancouver markets are back in full swing. Toronto’s can be expected to follow after a brief sojourn to readjust strategies. The culprit appears to remain China. Excess capital made there in a non-democratic command economy leaks out to western markets in search of safe haven. The proposition arises, “If Chinese people can buy real estate in Canada, then why can’t Canadians buy real estate in China?” The imbalance promises to dog international relations until such time as western governments act to discourage using housing as a commodity chip in investment portfolios.

SCSH: The Sunshine Coast Super Highway

A 300 km trip along a modern road linking Campbell River with West Vancouver could take just 2.5 hours and vault the BC economy into the sustainable future.


The SCSH linking Campbell River with West Vancouver travelling over upgraded roads (yellow dots), new highways (blue lines) and 5 new bridges [click map for hi-resolution image]


A new 300 km Sunshine Coast Super Highway linking Campbell River to West Vancouver would take 2 hours 30 minutes to traverse travelling at 120 k.p.h. (dry road posted speed limit) or about the same time it takes to ride the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria. Providing free charing points for electric vehicles along the way would turn it into a Super Highways. Built on upgraded local roads, new highway segments and 5 new cable suspension bridges the SCSH promises to do more than just ferry cars and trucks around the Salish Sea. It can be designed to trigger economic development, end the affordable housing crisis in British Columbia, carry fibre optics to remote locations, create an electric rail corridor, modernize transportation and build sustainable urbanism.

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The Dam, the Pipeline & the Damn Fish

BC votes in one week. Who will be the winner: The Dam, the Pipeline or the Salmon?


Candidates for Provincial Premier: Clark, Weaver and Horgan

British Columbia is electing a new government in one week… or so the polls seem to suggest. Meanwhile, I had an energetic round of tennis in North Vancouver with my nephews and my kids. Among the ones that could vote two were voting for the status quo because they the wanted good jobs. The new voter kept silent.

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Premier Clark: Why has the price of housing in British Columbia risen beyond the reach of both the middle and working classes?

British Columbia is in a housing crisis. Will provincial government leaders seeking election promise to return home ownership to the people?


The $35,000, 5-year loan for first-time owners you are campaigning on doesn’t pass muster. A guaranteed $350,000 price tag for a cottage on a 4,000 square foot lot would return affordable homes to BC.

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Vancouverism@30: The Housing Crisis

After 30 years of building Towers-and-Skytrain Metro Vancouver is in a Housing Crisis. What’s behind it?

Olser Street


30 years after the first Skytrain was built single family home prices in Vancouver have shot up by 1,167%. Far outpacing wages, inflation in property values puts in question the ability of the middle class to ever own a home:

“I want to keep home ownership within the grasp of the middle class in British Columbia,” said British Columbia Premier Ms. Clark at a news conference in Victoria, 27 July 2016, nine months and 13 days ahead of the next provincial elections.

At these prices the Canadian Dream of owning a home is ruled out not just for median income earners, but for almost everyone else. Never mind working folks who used to be able to afford paying down a mortgage on a house as their primary family investment. Three forces have shaken the property markets. All originate in areas of government oversight and regulation: the shift in urban paradigm from suburban to Towers-and-Skytrain; the Agricultural Land Reserve; and Chinese flight capital washing on-shore.

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Vancouverism@30: The Great Urban Train Robbery

A truncated 5.4 KM subway and a 12 KM tram are proposed for Vancouver and Surrey. However, the costs have not been made public. Costs for recent Translink projects just keep going up and up. The culprit? Municipal pork.



On 17 January 2017 Translink announced two new extensions to the Greater Vancouver transit network: a 6 km subway under Broadway, and a 12 km tram linking Newton-Surrey Center-and-Guilford. While there are many things to like about this proposal, unanswered questions threaten to derail the discussion. Not least of which is the incredible shrinking problem afflicting the length of the new transit lines and the fact that the announcement did not include cost estimates.

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Vancouverism@30: The Game Changing EV

The dawn of clean energy is also the advent of free energy—and that will prove to be the game changer.




For two decades arguments in Vancouver about sustainable urbanism have centered on curbing car use in order to reduce green house gases. Our civic leaders have sold us Towers-and-Skytrain as Eco-Density when in reality something like a Laundromat for off-shore wealth has been driving large projects here since the late 1970s. Further more, the ecology of towers is an urban myth. The very ‘voices of doom’ have never referenced the alternative: switching fuel sources from fossils to electric. In a land where power has been green since the 1950s, where 93% of electricity is hydro-electric, switching to electric energy and driving electric vehicles (EVs) should be a no-brainer. A natural common place.

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