BC Election 2017: Your quick guide to housing

Mar 30 2017, 12:08 am

Ahead of the 2017 BC election, Daily Hive has produced seven quick guides to the key issues affecting young voters. To find all the guides and our full BC Election coverage, click here: Battleground BC.

Long story short

Vancouver is one of the least affordable places to live in the world. Homeownership is out of reach for most young people, and rental rates are skyrocketing as availability hovers around zero. Sure, we live in a beautiful, global city. But people need a place to call home if they’re going to stay.

Why does it matter?

The rising cost of living is forcing many people to leave Metro Vancouver, impacting the city’s culture, economy, and future. Family neighbourhoods lie empty, and local businesses struggle to attract talent. Homelessness here has been called a “humanitarian emergency“–60,000 families are at risk of homelessness, and five people become homeless every week.

What do people want?

Dr. Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, which advocates for young people, said: “We need all parties to endorse the principle of ‘Homes First. Investments Second.’ This will encourage suitable density, level the playing field between renters and owners, tax housing wealth fairly so we can reduce other taxes, and ensure other major costs facing young people, like child care and transit, don’t add up to mortgage-sized payments.”

What does it mean to you?

Leaving Vancouver may solve your problem temporarily, but as others leave too, and demand for housing around BC grows, so the cost of living will rise there too. If you want any hope of staying in Vancouver or in BC long-term, addressing affordability is crucial.

Who’s talking about it?

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who has called it an affordability “crisis” with “dire circumstances,” and says homelessness is “spiralling out of control.” The City, which is trying to increase affordable housing using City-owned land, leveraging an Empty Homes Tax, and increasing density in single-family neighbourhoods. And just about everyone else.

What do the parties say?


The BC NDP tells Daily Hive they “will take action with a comprehensive 10-year plan for affordable housing. John Horgan’s BC NDP will fix British Columbia’s shortage of decent, affordable housing.”

Among the BC NDP’s plan for the housing sector is:

  • Building 114,000 affordable housing units
  • Providing an annual renter’s rebate of $400
  • Charging a yearly 2% absentee speculators’ tax
  • Setting up a Housing Affordability Fund
  • Fighting money laundering in BC real estate

SEE MORE: BC NDP and housing in detail

BC Liberals

The BC Liberals tell Daily Hive they “know that affordable housing is a critical issue for many middle class families…We’ll continue to take strong action.”

Among the BC Liberals’ plan for the housing sector is:

  • Expanding the Home Renovation Tax Credit to include a secondary suite
  • Raising the threshold of the First Time Home Buyers’ Program exemption
  • Investing $700 million in the BC HOME Partnership program

SEE MORE: BC Liberals and housing in detail

BC Greens

The BC Greens tell Daily Hive their strategy “recognizes that the primary purpose of housing must be to provide homes first, and a means of investment second.”

Among the BC Greens’ plan for the housing sector is:

  • Doubling the foreign buyers’ tax to 30%
  • Making property transfer tax more progressive
  • Building about 4,000 new units of affordable housing per year
  • Protecting renters from renovictions and demovictions

SEE MORE: BC Greens and housing in detail

The big question

Will Vancouver ever have enough affordable housing?

To find more quick guides and our full BC Election coverage, click here: Battleground BC.

See also
Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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