The Vancouver Housing Crisis

Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities and least affordable housing markets in the world, which makes affordability a serious problem for residents and the local authorities alike.

Average Income and Affordability

According to Statistics Canada, the average household income in Vancouver stands at about $79,000 a year while a detached home costs about $1 million on average. A detached home costs about 12 times the average income, which makes it unaffordable by all means. This fact can be explained by the influx of foreign capital, low interest rates, and lenient tax laws. In fact, tax specialists warn that speculators use tax loopholes to make profits. In an effort to solve the problem, the BC government announced a 15 percent tax on all property purchases in metro Vancouver. The new tax applies to foreigners, i.e. buyers who are not permanent residents or Canadian citizens. Other measures have been proposed as well, for example, 1 percent tax on homes that are left vacant. It is still unclear whether the new set of measures can help overcome the housing challenges many residents face (https://www.creditavenue.ca/). On the positive side, property sales dropped by more than 38 percent in 2016 while starts are at their lowest compared to the past couple of years.

Some experts propose progressive property surtax for foreigners purchasing property in hot markets such as Vancouver and Toronto. They claim that the introduction of surtax will help ensure that foreign investors pay a fair share as well. The reasoning behind this is that residents use local income to buy properties. They pay income tax to the local authorities, which is then used to provide social services. Foreign investors use foreign income meaning that they pay income taxes elsewhere. A surtax will help close the gap. Other measures have been proposed as well, and some have been implemented, including progressive and steep sellers and property transfer taxes, strict loan regulations, (https://www.creditavenue.ca/getting-a-personal-loan-with-bad-credit-in-canada/).

Homelessness is also a serious problem in Vancouver. The main goal of the local authorities is to secure affordable rental housing for persons and households in the low-income bracket. The problem is that rental housing is expensive and rates continue to grow at a steady pace. The vacancy rate is also quite low (less than 1 percent) and vacant properties are occupied very quickly.

Consequences

High property prices mean that many people either fail to qualify for a mortgage loan or have too much debt to pay off (https://www.creditavenue.ca/5-steps-to-reduce-your-credit-card-debt-by-christmas/). Carrying a huge debt load is risky because borrowers face large mortgage payments. Those who are unable to keep up with payments face the prospect of losing their homes. To this, experts point to the fact that highly indebted households would be affected the most in case of significant interest rate hikes or a major recession. Others warn that many people will choose to relocate to cities and areas where housing is more affordable. This goes for long-term residents as well. A recent study concludes that by 2020, even residents with in-demand jobs will be unable to keep up with mortgage payments. Selling a property and relocating could be the only option for many.

Gastown (Vancouver) Dining Guide

Gastown in Vancouver (http://gastown.org/) offers visitors and locals a mix of domestic food and international cuisine. Restaurants, pubs, and bakeries offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, dinner, lunch, and breakfast menus, and plenty more.

Canadian

Visitors who are keen on tasting authentic Canadian food have plenty of choice. Good restaurants to visit include Meet In Gastown, The Flying Pig, Catch 122, and others. Catch 122 is a good choice for vegans and vegetarians and serves tasty meals such as roasted duck, pink salmon, smoked olives, smoked salmon salad, and bread pudding French toast. The Flying Pig is also a great choice to try tasty soups and meals such as West Coast salmon sampler, three pea soup, lobster and prawn risotto, and crispy Brussels sprouts. Group bookings are available. Meat & Bread is another great restaurant in Gastown offering tasty Canadian food. If you are a fan of quick bites, Meat & Bread is a good choice. You can choose from a selection of tasty offerings such as grilled cheese sandwich with red onion and cheddar or buffalo chicken sandwich with buttermilk ranch and carrot celery slaw. Desserts and daily salads and soups are also offered. L'abattoir offers a mix of Canadian, European, and French meals such as beef tartare, buttermilk and ricotta pancakes, smoked salmon, heirloom tomatoes, and other tasty options.

International

There are plenty of restaurants that offer Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Latin, and Middle Eastern food. Some places offer vegan and vegetarian-friendly meals. Osteria Savio Volpe, for example, features Mediterranean and Italian food and vegetarian-friendly meals. Customers are offered a wealth of options such as grilled puffball mushrooms, eggplant fritti with pecorino and chili, and ravioli with heirloom tomato and halibut. The Nuba Restaurant is a good choice if you want to try Middle Eastern and Lebanese food. The place is clean and well-kept and offers vegetarian and vegan options. Bauhaus offers German and European food and features a menu divided into different sections – cocktails, a wine list, lunch, a la carte dinner, and a tasting menu. The tasting menu features delicious offerings such as beef with kale, squash, and coffee, venison with parsnip, juniper, and apple, and duck liver with oats, carrots, and shortbread. Bauhaus also offers great desserts such as French fruit sorbets, crème fraiche, and white chocolate pear.

If you are a fan of Belgian cuisine, you can give Chambar a try. There is a large selection of high-quality Belgium beers. The menu features brunch, lunch, breakfast, and dinner options. You can try veal stuffed calamari, octopus tiradito, asparagus with breadcrumbs and chorizo chips, or roasted halibut. The Old Spaghetti Factory is a must if you are up for a pizza or penne. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, and there is a gluten friendly menu as well. The menu features a wealth of options, including penne with chicken, chicken dippers, steamed mussels, vegetarian lasagna, and sweet potato fries. There is also a group menu featuring different packages. The Bella package, for example, features seafood linguine, penne with chicken, lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, BBQ ribs, and more. All meals are served with a complimentary salad, whipped garlic butter, fresh bread, soft drinks, coffee, and ice cream. Scoozi's is a Mediterranean type of bar and grill in downtown Vancouver. All meals are prepared using fresh ingredients. Visitors are offered soups, salads, pizzas, and tasty appetizers such as spinach artichoke dip, spicy meatballs, and smoked salmon. If you want to try Japanese food, then Gyoza Bar is a good place for a quick lunch or a night out with friends. Dinner and lunch options include soy garlic tenderloin skewers, maple garlic tenderloin skewers, Japanese tomato salad, garlic ramen noodles, and a lot more. Desserts are also delicious. You can have a piece of Japanese green tea cheesecake, golden bao fritter, or mochi ice cream with matcha or black sesame.

© Incendio.ca | 2017