PETER DOLEZAL: Increasing housing affordability

Despite some softening in the cost of housing recently, our west-coast corner of Canada remains the most costly for aspiring home owners

Despite some softening in the cost of housing recently, our attractive west-coast corner of Canada remains among the most costly of locations for aspiring home owners. Particularly for those with lower-to-modest incomes, Greater Victoria continues to provide a huge financial roadblock to home ownership.

Yes, every municipality continues to discuss this issue; and yes, most seem willing to support creative solutions. But few developers are providing them. A key exception is the Janion micro-loft project on Wharf Street. With more than half of the 113 units priced at less than $150,000, the smallest 243 square foot unit started at $110,000. When advance sales opened last November, buyers camped out overnight to plunk down their deposit; more than 100 units were sold within days.

That project provides proof of a pent-up demand for similar units which can be offered at about half the price of typical condos, yet still yield the developer a profit. The Janion condos represent only about five per cent of the condo units scheduled to come to market in the next two years. Greater Vancouver is seeing a substantial increase in the number of micro units being built. Why do we lag behind in satisfying this obvious market demand?

On the Peninsula, numerous businesses complain of an overwhelming need for affordable housing solutions to attract and keep their workforce. Sidney’s recent housing bylaw is an important step which encourages development of secondary accommodation but where on the Peninsula are micro-condo units to be found?

Perhaps councils need to consider modest incentives to attract developer interest in providing more micro-condo and perhaps, even micro-townhouse, projects in our municipalities. Victoria for instance, has long used a successful property tax incentive system to promote the restoration of its historic properties. Why can’t we come up with comparable incentives to provide much more affordable home ownership for our young, and even for many seniors.

Granted, micro-condos are a solution for the single person, or perhaps a couple. They do not solve the housing affordability issue for growing families. But more projects such as the Janion development can be a significant step toward affordable, initial home ownership for many who otherwise have little chance of breaking into the market.

A retired corporate executive, enjoying post-retirement as an independent Financial Consultant (www.dolezalconsultants.ca), Peter Dolezal is the author of three books, including his most recent, The SMART CANADIAN WEALTH-BUILDER.

 

Just Posted

Tomato planting controversy inspires Victoria author’s book on transforming cities

Woman behind the Collinson street mural pens third book

Victoria Humane Society needs volunteers after flood of puppies and kittens

Pregnant cats, dogs and their litters are in need of foster care

Stem cell donor with rare genetic makeup needed to save Saanich man after cancer returns

Jeremy Chow is half Canton Chinese, half British and needs a donor with a similar ethnic background

Victoria Police seek witnesses after cyclist tripped up by tow strap between vehicles

The collision happened on Aug. 18 at Oswego and Belleville streets

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read