Monday, June 26, 2017

What Vancouver stands to lose in the real estate mania

These days, when a Vancouver house with a mature garden grows a For Sale sign, we know what to expect.

Will a family renew and refurbish a charming and cosy home like this one? Probably not. More likely is the destruction of a mature garden and a wrecking ball for the house. The very features that give Vancouver such appeal are rapidly being sacrificed on the altar of Mammon.

People used to buy houses mainly to live in. Now, as investment trumps living, the green and quiet city is going down: tree by tree, house by house, street by street. Along with affordability, our region's livability is being lost as homes are snapped up by investors. Public schools are under threat of closure as families are driven out, leaving their city an exclusive playground for the very rich.

Gardens go down as land is bought up. Cash-strapped middle-class Vancouverites can barely to afford rent in the city, let alone buying homes. As they flee across the river, Surrey and Langley are reeling from the effects. It seems like every time we leave home, we see more missing trees, felled to make way for building to feed the boom. Richmond, with its rich delta soil, was once a farming paradise. Its proximity to the city and airport means it is now being built up and paved over.

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