溫哥華房價跟其他國際城市相比研究

 

20-most-unaffordable-housing-markets很多溫哥華人質疑,為甚麼政府沒有和溫哥華房產投資者的相關資料可以查閱? 尤其是溫哥華房價已經讓人覺得不堪負荷,本地人很想知道是否有重量級的投資客影響了溫哥華房價? 如果有,他們的背景是如何? 這類的呼籲已經傳達到渥太華,並且引起媒體的關注。這些在本地人看來,是一群非本地住戶頭資客,例如,最近在英國媒體上狒狒揚的報導俄羅斯的企業大亨,把英國的房價推高到史前未有的地步,正引起本地人的共鳴。

有一位在英國瑞士銀行工作的人員在一場倫敦晚餐會上說,他一半的工作都是在幫俄羅斯的企業大亨處理房產投資,他們想把錢留在英國。這位人是補充說到,對於倫敦市民,尤其是總資產在於七位數以下的倫敦居民,不是一件好事。這些巨額投資人不但堆高房價,對於當地公共建設,如學校,圖書館,甚至商家都沒正面影響,因為他們根本不住這。讓本地該有的消費,無法存在。

溫哥華人也有同樣的感覺。但是否真得是這樣? 有經濟學者對於此類的投資現象提出質疑。加拿大財政部長確說,我們沒有相關資料可以證明此類的投資行為發生在溫哥華。這些學者表示,這類型的投資行為可能會產生經濟表現良好的假象,如果不確切掌握資料,對於政府以後的相關經濟政策只有負面的影響。

 

Why does Canada not keep public data on investment ownership in real estate, whether by foreigners or homegrown residents? The question is starting to gain more attention than when some of us in B.C. raised it earlier this year.

With Canadian cities, especially Metro Vancouver, becoming infamous for their unaffordability in regards to real estate, another voice has been added to those urging the federal Conservative government to at least collect data on the influence of investors — foreign and otherwise — on the country’s housing market.

The latest call for property ownership transparency comes on top of recent media reports in Canada that the real estate market of London, England, has become badly distorted by ultra-wealthy foreign owners, referred to as “non-domiciled residents.” The influence of such buyers, including many Russian tycoons, is said to be causing London’s housing prices to “lose touch with reality.” A few excerpts from the piece by Leah McLaren:

A British finance worker employed by a private Swiss bank recently told me at a London dinner party that he spends “at least half” his working life “buying up London real estate for Russian clients, simply as a place to park their money.” Clients, he added, who don’t pay taxes in the U.K….

So what does this mean for the people who actually live in this city? Well, for people with families and jobs and net worths well under seven figures (people, in other words, like this columnist), it’s not good news.

Local services like state schools and libraries are essentially ignored by non-domiciled residents, who have no real stake in their community, given that they don’t actually live there. And independent businesses are suffering across London from the lack of local patronage…

Increasingly, in London neighbourhoods like mine, the people who do actually live here feel resentful—and baffled—by the lives of our invisible super-rich neighbours.

If that’s what Canadians and the British are saying about London, what would they say about Vancouver, which Demographia judges the second most unaffordable city in the worldafter Hong Kong. By comparison, Demographia ranked London thirteenth most unaffordable (see chart below).

Here is an excerpt from a new column on the need to collect foreign ownership data,  by Toronto business writer David Parkinson. It’s headlined: “Canada’s housing numbers don’t measure up”:

… a bigger concern are the numbers on investment activity in the housing market, particularly among foreigners. They don’t exist. Last week, some of the country’s top economists raised this issue with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has acknowledged that he has no hard data on how much of Canada’s housing boom has been fuelled by investors who are looking to make money as property owners rather than acquire personal residences.

The distinction matters a great deal. A substantial downturn in the housing market – say, one triggered by government policy – would trigger a much bigger exodus of investors than permanent residents, and so the risks to the Canadian economy rise with the proportion of investor money pumping up the market. And yet Mr. Flaherty has been crafting policy aimed at cooling the market without that information. The Office of the Superindentent of Financial Institutions has been talking since mid-2011 about uncovering the amount of foreign investment in Canada’s real estate market – and yet we still have no visibility.

Cleaning up this muddle of inadequate housing data must be made top priority for Canada’s financial and statistical institutions. We can’t keep flying blind.

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About Jamie Liu, www.jamieliu.ca