Hector Bremner's Yes Vancouver issues a report card on political parties' housing policies
Before you begin reading this article, realize one thing: the chart above will be disputed.
That's because any time a political party rates its rivals, those opponents will to take aim at what's being said.
With that in mind, I present to you Yes Vancouver's view of the housing debate.
Yes Vancouver was founded earlier this year by Coun. Hector Bremner, who broke away from the NPA after it blocked him from seeking a mayoral nomination.
In advance of the inevitable criticism of the chart above, a few explanations are in order.
When Bremner's party claims it's targeting speculators and not homeowners, this is based on page 30 of its 49-page housing plan.
"In order to prevent speculation and flipping YES Vancouver will work with the province to introduce a speculation tax of 50% on the capital gains on the sale of unimproved, non-owner occupied homes and presale assignments within 24 months of purchase," the party states. "This will target flippers, making room for homeowners."
When Yes Vancouver declares that it will end the corporate ownership of residential property, here's what it means (also from page 30):
"YES Vancouver will work with the province to end corporate ownership of residential real estate and require individuals to disclose the source of funds being used for real estate transactions.
"Residential real estate should be owned by individuals, not my anonymous numbered companies that evade paying property transfer taxes by selling shares of the company."
Exemptions would apply for properties being redeveloped, as long as a letter of intent had been filed to the city.
There would also be exemptions for employee and workforce housing, and for property-management firms overseeing purpose-built rental dwellings.
In an interview with the Straight last month, Bremner explained that his goal is to apply securities law to conveyance.
A registrar could examine the transaction and allow it to go through "if it makes sense".
"We don’t need to ban foreigners," Bremner said. "We need transparency.
"We need to know who owns it and we need to know where the money is coming from," he continued. "That alone would put a freeze on all this concern that people have about fraud and money laundering and the rest of it."
For Bremner, removing the possibility of playing favourites with developers would come through a citywide prezoning plan. That would eliminate the need for the city to negotiate community amenity contributions on an application-by-application basis.
The criteria for the report card are available below.
The report card describes OneCity Vancouver as being "closest to YES".
"They are the only other party to support housing legalization, promising to allow by right development of duplexes, fourplexes and small apartment buildings city wide," Yes Vancouver notes. "Their rental policy offers incentives to construct purpose built rental buildings.
"However, there is the concern that the effectiveness of these incentives could be undermined by their support of tying rent stabilization to the unit rather than the tenant."
Yes Vancouver claims that OneCity's proposal for a land-value tax "would encourage highest best use of land but impacts speculators and homeowners alike".
The second-most urbanist mayoral candidate, according to Yes Vancouver, is independent Shauna Sylvester.
"Her platform calls for a new city plan, but is more tepid when it comes to legalizing housing. She supports medium density zoning for co-ops but does not indicate support for diverse housing with diverse ownership models. It is at best a quasi-housing decriminalization."
To become even more urbanist, Yes Vancouver suggests that Sylvester "incentivize rental construction and fast-track permits".
"Her social housing goals, while admirable, do rely on senior levels of government which can often be uncertain."
The Yes campaign has dismissed NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim as "a political tourist recruited by the elite who believes that if you're a young person and you want to stay in Vancouver, your future is to live in someone's basement to help pay his millionaire friends' mortgage".
Independent candidate Kennedy Stewart is dismissed by Yes Vancouver as "a traditional machine politician from Burnaby who has flown in from Ottawa's backbenches".