Vancouver’s economy remains under threat as home prices continue to escalate with very little effective measures to control the market and this has made it a necessary situation for Ottawa to come up with strict actions to prevent fraudulent activity in the housing market. This was a warning issued by Mayor Gregor Robertson to the federal Finance Minster.
In a letter written to the Finance Minster Bill Morneau, the mayor stated that his attention has been brought to the fact that residents have been reporting cases of fraud in the housing market and even though some of the claims made by residents might not be true, it is however a cause for alarm and needs immediate actions to safeguard the trust of the public in the city’s regulation systems.
The letter which also served as an invitation for Mr. Morneau and other provincial representatives to debate on matters pertaining to finding remedies to the housing crisis also alerted the minister that the housing prices in Vancouver are still not in line with the household income of people.
This situation has put a lot of constrain on businesses as they find it very difficult to maintain their staff as people cannot afford to live in the city and so they are forced to relocate to other affordable markets.
The housing crisis also poses a risk to the Vancouver economy which is presently the strongest economy in the country.
The mayor went on to highlight that other organizations including the International Monetary Fund has also showed concerns over the current market condition in Vancouver and Toronto.
He went on to state that if the city is to maintain its current status and potentials, permanent regulations need to be adopted to stabilize the housing market.
Prior to the letter written by the mayor, Morneau had held discussions with Ontario and Toronto politicians in April to contemplate on ways to tackle the rising home prices.
Following the discussions, Ontario announced 16 new regulations as an effort to cool down the market prices. Furthermore all three levels of government noted they will keep abreast with market information.
In recent times, the federal government has not played any role in Vancouver’s housing market since the Prime Minster Justin Trudeau in June last year held a meeting with several housing experts to determine the extent of the crisis.
Last year the B.C government introduced a 15% tax on foreign buyers and even though many had thought the crisis had been put under control but to the amazement of many, the tax only had a short-term effect.
Tsur Somerville, a real estate expert and professor at the University of B.C’s Sauder School of Business noted that he does not believe that the federal government holds the key to finding solutions for the housing market.
He went on to add that the city should not always heed to the pressure from residents who fail to adhere to new regulations and later express that the government is not making a move.
He added that it is however necessary for Ottawa to be strict about fraud activities in the city.