Lack of affordable housing is a complex issue that has plagued North Vancouver for many years. Its root causes are found in policy errors by all three levels of government in addition to monetary policy errors by the central bank, and regulatory errors by Canada’s Mortgage and Housing Agency (CMHC). These errors have largely been repeated by governments around the world, with many of the same consequences.
No single politician can suddenly make owning a house cheap again. We are a world class city with a limited amount of land. Housing will always be more expensive here than elsewhere. That said, there are a number of concrete changes that can be made at the federal level to reduce the burden placed on North Vancouverites.
- Reduce the level of immigration. 41% of Canada’s immigrants end up in two cities – Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto. By focusing on immigrants that meet our economic needs and less on family reunification and unskilled labour, we will be able to reduce the absolute number of immigrants arriving in these two cities considerably.
- Lower your tax bills. After housing, taxes are most likely the second highest expense you have. We will lower the amount you are taxed on income, capital gains and the prices you pay for many grocery items by abolishing supply management. These changes will save a Canadian family thousands of dollars every year. Money you can use toward a mortgage payment or rent.
- Crack down on money laundering. The Liberals are promising all sorts of inquiries and investigations into money laundering. But it’s clear that they won’t do anything that risks offending anyone. A PPC government will require banks to collect documentation with international transfers that prove the source of funds was legitimately owned. Young families shouldn’t have to compete with drug kingpins and oligarchs stashing their dirty money in our real estate markets.
- Review the monetary policy effect on house prices. Central bankers around the world have been enthralled with a doctrine of “easy money” that artificially pulls forward demand from the future and creates asset bubbles, manias and eventually crashes. If left in place long enough, it metastasizes into a societal obsession with making quick profits: in this case “everyone can get rich flipping houses.” Economic growth is good, but not all growth is created equal. We should ensure our monetary and fiscal policies are encouraging sustainable growth that doesn’t come with unintended consequences like unaffordable housing.
The combined changes above will amount to the first real action in decades from the federal government to address this crisis. Only a PPC government will deliver this.