Monday, February 22, 2016

What Are We Paying For If Staying More Means Paying More?

Given the numbers in yesterday's post, and in light of recent increases in City of Vancouver property assessments (up 30% in my East Vancouver neighbourhood), it would not be unreasonable to expect an increase in property transfer tax revenues, as many Vancouverites unable to manage these relatively steep property tax increases (and who are still too young to defer their taxes) will have no choice but to sell their homes.

Hard to feel sympathy for this lot, given the equity many of them have in these homes. Some will adapt by creating rental suites in their basements, which the City relaxed restrictions on years ago as the housing market began to ramp up. But then, what are those in need of housing getting in exchange for the $1,000+ a month in rent they are paying to live in a below-ground one bedroom? And where do those who have a stake in this city go if they sell their homes because they can no longer afford their taxes?

The above questions invariably arrive at the bigger question: Why would anyone want to live in a city that has forsaken liveability for unlimited growth? Although some might cite children, grandchildren, friends and jobs as a reason for staying, others might speak of intangibles that are not linked to blood, affinity or finance. The mountains and the ocean are beautiful things to look at while hiking along their trails or walking along its beaches. But after a while, even Nature looks ugly when the Culture of this city has money as its lingua franca.

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