Re: Tax predicted to slow local market, July 29.
The article by Matthew Hoekstra offered a very one-sided view of the real estate situation in South Surrey.
It’s a view, unfortunately, commonly offered up by real-estate agents and developers but is self-serving to those groups and does nothing to address concerns about housing affordability in the Lower Mainland.
The article included a quote from Philip DuMoulin of Southby’s International Realty who was clearly stirring up fear from the local audience. He used the example of a downsizing couple that may no longer get the money they were expecting, which in turn could affect plans to provide money to their children to break into the market.
In response, I would like to bring up a few ideas in parallel.
It was not so long ago that adult children could save up a down payment and get into the real estate market all on their own, without down payments contributed by aging parents.
It was also not long ago that people purchased homes to live in and raise families – not to hold as investments or to use as vehicles to hide illegally-gained money.
There was a time when families left Vancouver for Surrey because that was where the affordable homes were. Today, young families as far as Chilliwack are finding it a challenge to find property in their budget.
Meanwhile on the streets of South Surrey, it’s a common site to see agents taking foreign investors on tours of the most desirable streets – adding fuel to the real estate fire that is burning in our midst.
Yes, the new levy on foreign buyers may slow the local market, but is that really such a catastrophe for everyone? The homeowners may make a bit less on the sale of their home than they would have a few months ago, but anyone who has lived here for the last 20 years has done pretty well for themselves when it comes to home equity.
Moreover, the 30 per cent annual returns we have been seeing in real estate are neither reasonable nor sustainable.
On the other hand, how reasonable is it for a young couple to spend over half a million dollars – before interest – for a two-bedroom “starter” townhouse in South Surrey?
I often see public outrage directed towards development projects in South Surrey. That non-stop development is being driven directly by the real estate market and, in part, by the influx of foreign buyers who have an insatiable appetite for local real estate.
If longtime residents of South Surrey wish to see less development, they should support whatever means are needed to cool the real estate market – whether it is this levy or other approaches brought forth – and bring back stability and affordability to the market.
Laura McLeod, Surrey