November 21, 2011
The best solution to high Metro Vancouver housing prices is to dramatically increase the housing supply, according to UBC professor Michael Goldberg. Goldberg, Professor and Dean Emeritus with the Sauder School of Business at UBC, said that if property developers were allowed to build a surplus of residential units, the costs would come down. And high-rise condominiums is the best product to build. Demographic shift is being seen toward smaller households, older and retired people who have lost interest in single-family homes and a working population who would prefer to live in the city rather than commute from the suburbs. "Foreign purchasers of real estate in Vancouver are making valuable investments here", said Goldberg and Canadians should be creating a favorable environment for these investments. The City of Vancouver should abandon regulations that protect "views of the mountains" said Goldberg. He considers the mountains to be high enough that buildings are not going to interfere sufficiently with the views to bother with a regulation. Building height limits also should be dropped in Vancouver according to Goldberg. He says that market condition should dictate height of buildings, not planning regulations. U.S. cities such as Chicago have minimal planning regulation and no height limits, explained Goldberg. Chicago has about three times more built floor area per square foot of land than in Vancouver. Goldberg contends that planning regulations hold back the efficient construction of new buildings in Vancouver to meet a growing demand for real estate. A restricted supply of residential units is in turn pushing up the cost of property development and housing. Michael Goldberg provided Property Biz Canada with the following list of pluses and minuses for the construction of tall buildings: Tall Building Pluses - Make more efficient use of urban land; - Create customers for Skytrain, Canada Line and buses; - Add to urban built form supply efficiently and lower price per buildable square foot; - Allow for urban core open-space; - Encourage mixed uses further adding to urban efficiency and reduction in traffic; and - The only way to reduce building and occupancy costs without expanding freeways.
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Articles are from various sources and courtesy to Real Estate By Weekly and others.