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

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Saanich police used a drone to investigate a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal West Saanich Road crash

Driver who died veered across center line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Saanich police arrested wanted man Tyrae Fownes on May 11. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Saanich police, K9 unit arrest man wanted for assault, uttering threats

Tyrae Fownes was the subject of wanted persons alert on April 28

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Realty/Submitted)
Sidney asked to show patience about identity of would-be warehouse operator

President of York Realty says nobody is trying to hide anything

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Pixabay
Island Health: two doctors, new clinic space to avert Port McNeill health crisis

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read