The undeniable truth about Vancouver’s housing market

Share this

Prices keep getting steeper, and people’s tempers are rising almost at the same rate. That is the best manner in which the current situation of the Vancouver housing market, which has stirred debate in the last few years, can be described.

Yet, there is an underlying issue which most are not willing to discuss. Every time we hear of individuals complaining of the money which has been pouring in from Hong Kong over the last decade, we start to feel that in a way they are right, and perhaps something should be done about it, i.e. government intervention. However, to go down that path is to go against a right that Canadians enjoy with totality, one which has defined the freedoms that have given shape to this country: property rights. In this case the right to sell our property to whomever we wish.

Consider you want to sell your car for the best price possible. Your neighbor will give you $600 for your beater, yet the man two streets down is willing to buy it for $800. Who are you going to sell it to? You know very well that like any normal human being that you want to get the most you can for it. That in essence is the Vancouver housing market. If individuals or large real estate firms can get the best prices overseas, they will, and to deny that from them is a gross infringement of their rights, regardless of how it affects the housing market.

Although the situation is far more complicated than mere wealthy individuals from overseas buying these properties, we also have to consider the lack of livable space in Vancouver, as well as speculation on the part of a great deal of Vancouverites themselves. We do need to understand that the housing market needs to be let alone and to run its course. If the government steps in in any manner, it would constitute as a violation of the Constitution. More precisely, coercion — the kind that you see in despotic states.

A common problem that people voice is that having so much Vancouver real estate in foreign hands is not a good thing, especially when many of the lots and houses remain unoccupied. My question is: Why? They will answer that it destroys communities and relationships with people. Yes, something which is true, however you cannot expect property owners to sell their property for less to locals, just so you can say “Hi” to a neighbor over your fence once in a while. Individual property is a cornerstone of Western civilization and a reason why we live in prosperity.

However, there is another austere problem in the backstage of the whole situation: xenophobia. Many have resorted to a prime collective racism, believing that allowing Hong Kong money — in other words Asian investors — to come to Vancouver and take over real estate is somehow wrong. What these ignorant individuals forget, however, is that the irrelevance of where people come from is so minuscule that it is sincerely ridiculous. This is not about ethnicity, rather about money, which never discriminates in any situation. The money pouring into Vancouver might as well have been from Bulgaria, it does not matter. In fact no one cares, which is the beauty of the entire situation in the first place — what matters is profit.

Analysis by Milad Doroudian

Image By Graham King