Does housing pose Metro Vancouver’s worst crisis since WW2?

This post was originally published on this site

I’m developing a theory that the housing affordability emergency in Metro Vancouver is the worst crisis the region has faced since the Second World War.

While difficult to “prove,” it’s an idea that seems to resonate with a lot of readers.

I recently conducted a brief, highly unscientific poll on Twitter and found that 63 per cent of respondents believe housing affordability is “the worst crisis in 50 years” (which of course doesn’t include the Second World War).

And our own internal Vancouver Sun / Province digital “analytics” reveal that seven of my 10 most well-read articles and columns in the 2018 calendar year have been on housing. A similar pattern emerges when other Postmedia journalists write on housing issues.

To add fuel to this thesis-in-progress, Angus Reid Institute recently found in a scientific poll that 50 per cent of British Columbians say housing costs are the province’s biggest issue. (I imagine the portion would have been significantly higher among Metro residents).

 

It’s of course true that the opioid epidemic (in which 85 per cent of victims are males) is another major tragedy. The pending legalization of cannabis is also big news. So is the proposed Trans-Mountain pipeline ending on the Burnaby shores of Burrard Inlet. Not to mention taxes, education, health care et cetera.

But the housing and rental crisis, in which housing costs out-distance median local incomes by a shocking margin of 13 to one, is pushing tens of thousands of people out of the city, ruining the career and family plans of countless local millennials.

Douglas Todd Twitter poll

I’m definitely open to counter-arguments, but I think this is the worst crisis the city has seen since the Second World War, when tens of thousands of young men and some women went overseas (with many never to return) to fight the Nazis and Japanese Imperial troops. It was an era of food rationing and blacked-out windows. Anxiety and crushed-dreams filled the air.

Despite much evidence suggesting we have a modern-day urban crisis on our hands, there are still a minority of commentators, bloggers and development industry lobbyists who talk about how it’s not that serious a problem compared to previous eras. Debate rages.

I’m going to follow up this thesis in more detail in the future. In the meantime, send your arguments and counter-arguments to dtodd@postmedia.com or find me on Twitter etc.

Here is a rundown of my most “popular” housing-related stories beginning Jan. 1, 2018:

1. Explosive B.C. court case details seven housing & migration scams

2. Why are aboriginals and whites leaving Metro Vancouver?

3. Bankers know why Metro Vancouver’s housing costs ‘worst ever in Canada’

4. Non-housing article

5. Death, taxes and the ‘terrible injustice’ of Metro’s housing crisis

6. Will B.C. close a notorious tax-evading real-estate loophole?

7. Why most suburban Metro politicians are mum on foreign ownership

8. Non-housing article

9. Here is the next weapon in the battle for B.C. housing affordability

10. Non-housing article

Interestingly enough, readers’ hunger for housing stories continues online: Seven of my top 11 to 20 most-read pieces of 2018 are also on housing. 

dtodd@postmedia.com

Source: Angus Reid Institute

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