Housing Rant

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Ok so there's these two older houses on a street in Burnaby I walk by on my way to work. Families with kids lived in them, they would play in the front yards with hula hoops, balls, hockey nets. These families were low income. As time passes, these houses were knocked down, all the trees uprooted and two big, boxy duplexes are built. At first I thought, well, the owners now have a rental option, and densification is a good thing, four families can now live where two once were.

NO. How delusional of me. Sadly no families have moved in to make these empty boxes into homes. only one of the four places is occupied, a single person most likely a relative of the owners. What cheeses me off is the realtor signs out front keep changing! Every few months there's a new sign and nobody moves in. GRR. Most working people cannot afford a home in this market and most of the condos and homes are vacant: bought and sold by rich people and foreign investment. The prices go up and up and the rich get richer.

This province is run by developers and their slavering apparatchiks. Get used to this scenario playing out again and again. Land speculators have never been a good thing for working families and no level of Canadian gov't is willing to face the fact that spiraling housing prices act as nothing more than a wealth transfer from the middle-class to banks and their shareholders. Further, said wealth is merely paper-based with no basis in real productivity or value.

Google for the name Ed Deak if you want to read a guy with an interesting and insightful take on economics. Rising houses prices created by land speculators, big mortgages held by families struggling to make ends meet, and fiat currencies is a terrible combination doomed to disaster.

If you really want to worry, think about what happens when the housing market crashes and all those loans can't be paid off and banks are forced to deal with the vast amounts of artificial wealth they've created. Who do you think will get the dirty end of that sh*tty stick?

Think the housing market can't crash?

Contemplate a flu pandemic. Approx. 5% of the world's population perished in 1919. And that was before air travel made germ transmission between continent a near supersonic reality. That's (5 percent mortality) a lot of empty, for sale houses. There's plenty of other ways for the housing market to tumble, but that's one of my favourites, inasmuch as I love it when the human suffering knob is cranked all the way to 11 (not).

R.E.M. - Document - track 6

Because I have a kid. D of D... I feel less than fine, know what I mean?

I have one too and a second on the way. I want them to inherit a world better than mine. But I want them to live with a vision of the future that is inspiring not demoralizing. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention Dewar.

What does outrage accomplish?

How about a solution. I don't know enough about housing to comment other than move to the US and scoop
up a cheap house that some poor sod down there got foreclosed out of.

sometimes outrage inspires action.

One solution would be to consider housing as a basic human right rather than an investment vehicle. But that's heresy in the so-called free market.

although it could very well be argued that housing should be a human right or at least that all members of society are entitled to some form of shelter...how would this be practically enacted?? please don't give me the easy answer of social housing as that would not address the above concern. should the government build some university style residences where you have the option of living should you find yourself without shelter? would you be willing to receive a substantial increase in your taxes in order to fund such a program?? or should i take the USSR flag off my wall and start waving it in the streets with the naive hope that a revolutionary movement against private land ownership will begin?? my point to those here is this; homelessness is a problem however if all you have are empty critiques of a policy without any solution aside from "social housing" then perhaps it's time to learn more about the problems facing those without a roof on these cold spring evenings otherwise you are no better then FTT or Y3WA protesting against the Olympics

Social housing seems to be the accepted method. Why do you think the prov. gov't has been buying up old hotels?

Who is suggesting land ownership is incompatible with housing the homeless?

Why do you think housing people is more expensive than dealing with the problems associated with homelessness? Where do you get the idea that the solution must mean a substantial increase in taxes?

Telling others to learn more about the problem strikes me as a bit funny given the very questionable assumptions you're bringing to the discussion.

I think the answer comes from how we think about the housing market. How did it become a "market" anyway? an investment like the stock or commodities market? I mean, in the past, buying a dwelling was celebrated as one finding a home. Now the prime motivation is how much can I profit from living here a little while and flipping it?

OR Perhaps the industry can come up with a restriction on how much sales in the market are for speculation only. A stipulation that the purchaser must actually live in the dwelling, or a percentage of a developer's projects must go to this sort of housing. I'm no expert in this field but I know there's a common sense way to head in this direction and to slow the skyrocketing prices.

by the way, those duplexes are still vacant.

They are at Colborne and Elwell st in Burnaby, about the 6700 block of Colborne, just north of Kingsway and S. of Imperial, if you are interested in buying (but not flipping!) them.. :)

"A stipulation that the purchaser must actually live in the dwelling, or a percentage of a developer's projects must go to this sort of housing."

Banff solved their housing problems to some degree by making residency a condition of ownership.

I really think gov't at all levels needs to be more supportive of co-op housing.

I agree completely that turning homes from places to live into places to profit from isn't helping at all. This trend is doing little except to make banks even richer off ever-larger mortgages and creating a bubble of false wealth based on market forces -- rather than any real or lasting measure of value.