Governments at root of rental housing crisis in BC
The solution to Metro Vancouver's housing crisis is very simple - build more rental units. When I finished high school I moved out on my own and rented my fist apartment. They used to have apartment building that you could rent suites from. That was back in the day. Those same old building are still there. Only they're 30 years old. The problem is they haven't built any new ones.
Everyone has been obsessed with making a quick buck with all the free money for the past 30 years. No one has committed to make a lasting profit from rental housing. Right before I finished high school there was a crash in the housing market triggered by high interest rates. Mortgage rates went up to 20%. Your mortgage payments doubled. People couldn't afford those payments and many people lost their homes. I was there. I saw it.
I've been afraid ever since.
I've been cautiously waiting for it to happen again only it never did. Mortgage rates never rose that high ever since. For the past 30 years it's been cheaper to own than to rent. Consequently, since mortgage rates have been next to nothing for so long, people would buy up investment properties and rent them out. The rent would pay the mortgage and they'd own another property in the process. It was a great gig. That's why no one has bothered building any new complexes for renting. Now young kids graduating high school can't afford down payments or that large of a mortgage payment. 1.8 million dollars for me to move across the street is completely insane.
The government can help solve this problem but they shouldn't have to. The private sector can make money from building rental housing. It is way easier to evict a bad tenant that plays loud music and parties from a rental unit than from a condo they own.
If the government buys a complex they don't have to rent it out for free. They can rent it out at market value. That way it's not a drain on tax dollars. Helping create more rental units would be the simple solution to the current housing crisis. The government can give tax breaks for private companies that build rental units. Civic governments can help as well by zoning for rental units. If developers want to get a permit to build new condos tell them they need to build some rental units as well. It really is that simple. That' all we have to do. We don't have to change our economic or democratic system for another manufactured emergency.
The government could set up a crown corporation like the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation. They could build and buy rental units and rent them out at market value. That means it wouldn't cost tax dollars. It would make a profit. They could pay the government dividend which would reduce taxes. The Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation is totally mismanaged. they could do a lot better. They could solve the housing crisis if properly funded and organized.