The other day freako posed this question - Exactly why is it that market cannot provide affordable housing? And what exactly is affordable housing? A nice SFH with a picket fence in a gentrified neighbourhood? Five pieces of plywood? Until we realize that quality of housing is a relative concept, I don't think we can even define the problem. And once we do, how will it be rectified, and who should pay? here.
Good question. One that I cannot think of an answer to, but poses more questions in my mind;
Affordable rental housing?
freako pointed out that the market sets the price, and I am certain that he is reasoned in saying so, but who sets the market?.
SRO's, which are aimed at those with limited income, or on income assistance, tend to be about 50% of the monthly stipend of those receiving benefits. If more than that, they would certainly be unaffordable for the indigent. Underemployed people may take up the slack, or maybe not.
What about the homeowner?
Traditionally, banks have looked to no more than 32% of after-tax income for shelter costs (though I read recently that they are revising that up to 40%). That would include utilities and taxes. But here, we are close to 50% of median household labour income required to make a mortgage payment on a median priced house link. That's with 25% down too. Then another amount for utilities, repairs, taxes, etc. is needed.
So from the lowliest welfare recipient to the median wage earner, things are clearly unaffordable in Vancouver.
What can be done?
Beats me. They (whover they are) have us all by the short hairs. Refuse to pay, and you can try to make it on the street, or go somewhere that you can afford. But what if you can't afford to get to where it is affordable?
I wouldn't expect legislation against foreign ownership (if that's part of the problem) to be very palatable to any but the most disgruntled. Mexico doesn't allow foreign ownership. Mexicans have land rights though, and there is a system of Ejidos where the land is held in common. There is a loophole in which foreign companies can own land, but that feeds a big mess of corruption. It's also quasi-fascist.
Foreigners are not allowed to own land in the United Arab Emirates either, and you can't marry their girls. The state provides a villa to each married couple, and men are permitted to marry up to six women. A villa for each wife. Cool! Emirate men can marry foreign women.
No, I'm not a communist - just trying to find a dramatic ending to a tedious post. Maybe even provoke discussion.
But really. In the end, who sets the market when it comes to necessities?