(The Straight received the following letter to the editor from real estate agent Allan Mark Angell in response to this article.)
At the June 7 West Vancouver public town hall meeting, I regrettably stated, “The NDP should be shot,” in response to the high level of frustration my clients and I are feeling.
My words were ill-chosen and were in no way intended as a threat or a call for violence. I apologize to anyone who was offended, as well as to those like NDP MLA Bowinn Ma, who may have felt I was inciting action against elected officials or others.
My frustration, and that of others, stems from the provincial government’s new taxes and the influence they are having on our housing market. Even before the school tax, foreign buyer tax, and speculation tax were introduced, housing prices on the North Shore had been dropping. A large number of houses have sold for significantly less than their assessed value, yet the taxes are based on the assessed value which is not reflective of the market value.
As a North Shore realtor for more than 40 years, many of my clients are seniors who are facing uncertainty. This loss of equity (25 to 35 percent) and increased tax gravely impacts their retirement funds. Most bought their homes when prices were much lower than current assessed values. They worked hard, paid off their mortgages and were rewarded with increasing property values. Yet, seniors live on fixed incomes and additional taxes are simply not in their budgets—regardless of where they live or the value of their home. While the school tax is deferrable, it accumulates based on the assessed value, even as property values drop. It may force some seniors outside their known community and social networks.
The NDP states the taxes will create housing affordability, but the impact is the erosion of equity many seniors are relying on. It’s unlikely to return in their lifetime.
Given the reaction to my statement at the meeting, others are also feeling frustrated. I wanted to stand up for the interests of my senior clients and the public in the open forum but I do regret my choice of words. I hope that the provincial government will work with local experts to find a solution to affordable housing that doesn’t erode the equity people have earned in their homes.
Allan Mark Angell
Partner, Angell Hasman & Associates