faithwilson | Christie’s International Real Estate’s exclusive and comprehensive Market Analyses for August 2021 have arrived.
A successful housing market needs a firm foundation
It is a pleasure to hear all of those vying to become – or remain – the Prime Minister of Canada in chorus on the housing file. All say that, if elected September 20, they will introduce measures to make it easier to buy a home, faster to build them and more comfortable and greener to live in them.
Honestly, I think it takes a combined effort of the private and public sector to provide the supply and choice that the B.C. housing market requires.
There is one area, however, where only governments can truly help: that is with an emphasis on improving infrastructure, the foundation necessary to deliver a more successful and accessible residential market, and a better overall economy.
Statistics Canada reported recently that residential investing, the building and renovation of homes, now accounts for more than 10 per cent of Canada’s total gross domestic production.
This does not include sales of existing houses. In British Columbia, home transactions through MLS in the first seven months of 2021 totalled $73.4 billion, up 124 per cent from the same period a year earlier.
This is a substantial economic contribution into every corner of the province and deserves the infrastructure investment to sustain and expand it.
The transit, roadways, bandwidth, communication and underground services needed for communities is superb in Metro Vancouver, but not nearly as robust in parts of the province where many are now seeking homes. Since the summer of 2020, home sales in the B.C. Interior, for example, have increased by 80 per cent while housing starts declined by 48 per cent.
While government should not take its eye off encouraging homeownership, a fresh focus on improving the basic infrastructure of communities outside of the Lower Mainland, I believe, would improve access to homeownership for more British Columbians.
Today, two-lane roadways link most towns of B.C.’s Interior, the mainland coast and the North, while public transit is often lacking, Internet broadband may be unreliable, and it can be difficult to develop new housing when communication, roads, water and sewer systems don’t keep up.
Housing should be safe, comfortable and accessible to all British Columbians who wish to own a home, and that starts from the foundation of strong local infrastructure.
That is a platform I believe that many would vote for.