BY SURJIT SINGH FLORA
Housing prices in Canada, just like the United States, are based on a variety of factors such as size, quality, location and demand. Yes, prices for homes in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding areas are very high. So are prices in Los Angeles and New York. All four cities have high density and demand.
To say Canadian houses cost more, more of these conditions would have to be comparable. Interestingly, Seattle and Vancouver are both major cities in reasonable proximity to each other, with similar climates and both located in coastal are. Vancouver seems by far to be less expensive than Seattle.
However, house prices have been rising steadily in Canada for many years, but the COVID-19 epidemic has put the situation into overdrive and led to a sharp rise in house prices that continues unabated. National average house prices have risen more than 25 per cent over the course of this year, compared to more than 31 per cent in Greater Toronto, Greater Vancouver and some other areas.
The pandemic has led to a sharp drop in jobs and other employment, which should have led to a fall in house prices, but prices increased. Actually, the rising prices of houses have nothing to do with the reality on the ground. Prices fall when unemployment rises, but not in Canada today. When immigration declines, due to factors such as COVID-19, which causes some temporary declines in Canada, the demand for housing declines, which should lead to lower prices, but it’s the other way around. T
he pandemic has led to the closure of many businesses, and it should have reduced prices, but it has not made a difference. The rise in house prices depends on the financial policies of Canada’s Trudeau’s Liberal government.
Actually, the truth is Bank of Canada is buying $3 billion worth of Canadian bonds every week to boost house prices. This is benefiting the wealthy investor who is hoarding real estate. The Canadian government, knowing all this, does not want to change its policies. According to an interview conducted by Steve Paikin on TV Ontario on Apr. 8 with Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Housing, viewed on YouTube, he admits that it is no longer possible to buy a home in Canada by earning money. Let that sink in for a moment. Vaughan then states that to buy a home here, one must have income from somewhere else.
If someone ‘saves’ money by buying a house, townhouse or condo in Canada with foreign income, the government protects their investment. Vaughan, an elected MP from Toronto’s Spadina constituency, was once a Toronto city councillor. He says he went into federal politics to solve people’s “affordable housing problems.”
Today, he is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing, but his job is to aggravate the problem of “affordable housing” rather than solve it. It is important to remember that unaffordable house prices also affect tenants as they increase rents. “Affordable housing” has become a distant dream in Canada.” During the interview, Vaughan was laughing shamelessly and was not the least bit sensitive about this serious phenomenon. Opposition parties have also been instrumental in siding with the government.
In fact, “affordable housing” is not on their agenda at all. If we talk about NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s campaign for “Affordable Housing,” it’s merely crocodile tears, and nothing is being done. Singh’s job is to prevent Justin Trudeau’s government from falling at every turn, which he is doing well. On May 19 and 20, Jagmeet Singh once again shed many crocodile tears in the name of “affordable housing,” but did not signal a single concrete step. Money laundering and illicit money from abroad also play a role in rising house prices, but the Trudeau government has deliberately turned a blind eye.
Actually, the Trudeau government’s message is clear: if you earn a good income from another place (country) and want to buy a Canadian property, we will continue to boost the market to protect your investment. How long will the Trudeau government continue to push against market forces? This could cause the ship to sink one day.
It seems like the Trudeau government is betraying Canadians and gaining loyalty to wealthy foreign investors. The only question is how long they’ll keep up the charade.