Mayor Gregor Robertson warns that unsustainable increases in housing prices threaten Vancouver economy

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      Today, Mayor Gregor Robertson issued the following statement:

      In the past week, we've heard a growing chorus of concerns about the economic risk posed by skyrocketing housing prices in Vancouver.

      Both the Bank of Nova Scotia and the National Bank of Canada urged the federal government to intervene in our housing market, and the OECD's recent Global Economic Outlook warned that Vancouver's economy is at risk due to rising household debt and surging housing prices.

      It’s fitting that this was the same week as the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released new data showing a 37 percent increase in year over year detached housing prices in Metro Vancouver.

      These trends are not sustainable and we need to be wide awake to the risks they pose to the stability of our economy, let alone the impact they have in pushing local residents, especially young people, families, and seniors, out of our neighbourhoods.

      While adding more housing supply is crucial, it is not an affordability solution on its own. With unregulated, speculative global capital flowing into Metro Vancouver’s real estate, we are seeing housing prices completely disconnected from local incomes.

      First and foremost, housing needs to be for homes, not just treated as a commodity.

      I urge the provincial and federal governments to heed the warnings from the financial sector and implement clear measures to rein in the excesses of Vancouver’s housing market.

      The CEO of Scotiabank spoke out in support of a luxury sales tax. The deputy chief economist at CIBC supports a 'flipping' tax as a measure to reduce speculation. I support both these tools and will continue to aggressively advocate for them to the federal and provincial governments as a way to help create a level playing field in the Vancouver housing market.