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Old 20th May 2022, 12:17 PM   #1
wobs
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Build More Houses

An interesting YT from Britmonkey. Basically he argues that all of our major problems could be solved if we built more houses. And by major problems, he means:
Poverty
Homelessness
Climate Change
Public Health
Economic Decline
Population Decline

I often disagree with BM, but he also says things I agree with. There is clearly some journalistic license/hubris to make his points, and this helps to make it entertaining, but I can forgive if the message is right overall.

Anyway, here it is:
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


He makes bold claims, such as its worst thing to hit Britain's GDP since the Black Death!

Of course when people buy up property just to own it to make money, and leave it empty, that doesn't exactly help. Or having second homes etc. But the film claims a deeper more widespread problem.

Anyway, enjoy.

Edit: BTW, its about 42mins, so make some time to watch it.
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Last edited by wobs; 20th May 2022 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 20th May 2022, 01:04 PM   #2
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I agree.
Japan doesn't have a housing problem, and housing is much more affordable.
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Old 20th May 2022, 05:11 PM   #3
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It's not just houses, it's living units of all types, particularly multifamily. The suburbs have traditionally resisted apartment development, but it is the only way to make housing more affordable in the places people want to live.
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Old 20th May 2022, 05:12 PM   #4
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Suburbs were a mistake, and people are wrong to want to live there.
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Old 20th May 2022, 05:17 PM   #5
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In the UK a house is an investment. Living in it is secondary.

Gove just announced that the govt is not going to get anywhere near their target of 300,000 new homes a year. Instead the target will be 'homes people can be proud of'
That will probably mean more of the 4 bedroom double garage stuff they seem to be throwing up around here rather than the 1 and 2 bedroom places that are in short supply.
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Old 20th May 2022, 05:49 PM   #6
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In Australia, part of the solution would be banning foreign nationals and corporations from purchasing residential real estate.

Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would benefit from a really severe non-occupancy tax.

(Apartment buildings have been built by foreign nationals and left standing empty).

One side-effect of apartment buildings I've noticed...

Often low income people are displaced to build apartments, and they cannot afford to rent those apartments that are built.
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Old 20th May 2022, 09:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
In Australia, part of the solution would be banning foreign nationals and corporations from purchasing residential real estate.

Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would benefit from a really severe non-occupancy tax.

(Apartment buildings have been built by foreign nationals and left standing empty).

One side-effect of apartment buildings I've noticed...

Often low income people are displaced to build apartments, and they cannot afford to rent those apartments that are built.
One of the main reasons for this was the apartments were built to house the hundreds of thousands of overseas students, which were prevented to come here because of covid. This led to reduced rents in inner urban areas, which was a good thing. Now students are back, these appartments will be snapped up.

No sensible developer builds apartments to sit and wait for future purchasers. They want them sold on completion, if not before.
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Old 20th May 2022, 09:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
In Australia, part of the solution would be banning foreign nationals and corporations from purchasing residential real estate.

Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would benefit from a really severe non-occupancy tax.

(Apartment buildings have been built by foreign nationals and left standing empty).

One side-effect of apartment buildings I've noticed...

Often low income people are displaced to build apartments, and they cannot afford to rent those apartments that are built.
In Australia the solution would be a state medium and high density housing program that excludes investment buyers. The opposition would be great given so many people who have grown a sense of entitlement to guaranteed high returns on investment property.
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Old 20th May 2022, 09:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
In Australia the solution would be a state medium and high density housing program that excludes investment buyers. The opposition would be great given so many people who have grown a sense of entitlement to guaranteed high returns on investment property.
What is wrong with investment buyers?
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Old 20th May 2022, 09:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
What is wrong with investment buyers?
I am a bit sentimental in thinking a house should have a primary function in society as a home and that homeless unhoused people is a social failure. There are places that cannot get workers for lower paid jobs because rent is too expensive. Young people do not have the same ability to buy a home that their parents and grandparents enjoyed. The market has failed people and we need to start building homes with affordable ownership plans for people to live in not snapped up by investors.
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Old 20th May 2022, 10:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
What is wrong with investment buyers?
Same as with the medical insurance industry: they exist only to be middlemen, sucking money out of the rest of the economy and making almost everybody poorer.
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Old 20th May 2022, 10:48 PM   #12
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I think there is no one fix. You need to do several things that together will, over the long term, reduce house prices
1. Get rid of stamp duties on the sale and purchase of land.
2. Increase rates. Make it expensive to live on a big block.
3. Allow people to build apartments and granny flats where there was a stand-alone house. This will increase population density.
4. Build some apartments without a garage which takes up a massive % of the area of the apartment.
5. Improve public transport and other forms of active travel. This would make it easier to live without owning a car.
6. Get rid of negative gearing.
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Old 20th May 2022, 11:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I think there is no one fix. You need to do several things that together will, over the long term, reduce house prices
1. Get rid of stamp duties on the sale and purchase of land.
2. Increase rates. Make it expensive to live on a big block.
3. Allow people to build apartments and granny flats where there was a stand-alone house. This will increase population density.
4. Build some apartments without a garage which takes up a massive % of the area of the apartment.
5. Improve public transport and other forms of active travel. This would make it easier to live without owning a car.
6. Get rid of negative gearing.
"NotJustBikes" has a series of Youtube videos about liveable cities and how zoning solely for business or residential has a host of problems including bankrupting cities, making people car-dependent and impacting on quality of life.
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Old 21st May 2022, 01:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Suburbs were a mistake, and people are wrong to want to live there.
There is nothing wrong with the suburbs but if I buy 10 acres of land whose business is it to tell me if I can build 5 homes on it or 50? Or if they have to be detached? The libertarian argument for multifamily in the suburbs on the right is stronger than the DEI argument on the left. And that is not a weak argument.
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Old 21st May 2022, 01:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
There is nothing wrong with the suburbs but if I buy 10 acres of land whose business is it to tell me if I can build 5 homes on it or 50? Or if they have to be detached? The libertarian argument for multifamily in the suburbs on the right is stronger than the DEI argument on the left. And that is not a weak argument.
It's called "Thinking before you make a move". We don't live in the Wild West anymore, sorry, dude.
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Old 21st May 2022, 02:03 AM   #16
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It's not the fault of people that US cities are so poorly designed that in order to spend any time outside for leisure, you have to drive for an hour.
Suburbs would become obsolete if cities had more green spaces.
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Old 21st May 2022, 03:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
One of the main reasons for this was the apartments were built to house the hundreds of thousands of overseas students, which were prevented to come here because of covid. This led to reduced rents in inner urban areas, which was a good thing. Now students are back, these appartments will be snapped up.

No sensible developer builds apartments to sit and wait for future purchasers. They want them sold on completion, if not before.
They do in London.
There are lots examples of apartment blocks and houses that have been purchased by foreign owners and just left empty for years on end.
There are several apartment complexes that have been left empty since they were built, just sat as investments.
Apartments in the 'Shard' building valued at up to $50 million, all are empty.

Then there are the ones a bit further down the ladder that aren't selling because there are too many of them.
There are 14,000 unsold apartments on the market for between 1,000-1,500 per sq ft and there are 420 residential towers of at least 20 storeys with planning permission or under construction.

Last edited by Captain_Swoop; 21st May 2022 at 03:16 AM.
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Old 21st May 2022, 04:00 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Same as with the medical insurance industry: they exist only to be middlemen, sucking money out of the rest of the economy and making almost everybody poorer.
This is wrong. Both investment housing and medical insurance provide value. In the case of an investment house that you rent, the value is that you provide housing to someone who cannot afford to buy a house, or to someone who might only live there short term and doesn't want to risk a market downturn. The renters are not poorer as a result. And medical insurance isn't fundamentally different than any other kind of insurance. It provides risk pooling. That is of value, even if you think an alternative such a single payer government plans are better.
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Old 21st May 2022, 04:20 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
They do in London.
There are lots examples of apartment blocks and houses that have been purchased by foreign owners and just left empty for years on end.
There are several apartment complexes that have been left empty since they were built, just sat as investments.
Apartments in the 'Shard' building valued at up to $50 million, all are empty.

Then there are the ones a bit further down the ladder that aren't selling because there are too many of them.
There are 14,000 unsold apartments on the market for between 1,000-1,500 per sq ft and there are 420 residential towers of at least 20 storeys with planning permission or under construction.
The invisible hand of the free market at work!
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Old 21st May 2022, 04:39 AM   #20
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It's the same reason we don't let the richest guy in town buy every seat for the big game / concert and resell it back to us at inflated prices.

Unless regulated and kept within some confines of sanity the landlord turns into the scalper real quick.
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Old 21st May 2022, 05:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
It's the same reason we don't let the richest guy in town buy every seat for the big game / concert and resell it back to us at inflated prices.

Unless regulated and kept within some confines of sanity the landlord turns into the scalper real quick.
What? You have a problem with ticket scalpers too? ridiculous
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Old 21st May 2022, 06:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Same as with the medical insurance industry: they exist only to be middlemen, sucking money out of the rest of the economy and making almost everybody poorer.
Middlemen are good. Nearly everything you engage with in the economy are middlemen. Did you shop at a store? That is a middleman.
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Old 21st May 2022, 06:16 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Middlemen are good. Nearly everything you engage with in the economy are middlemen. Did you shop at a store? That is a middleman.
I like to get obtuse opinions from the manufacturer though.
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Old 21st May 2022, 06:17 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
The invisible hand of the free market at work!
The invisible hand is a shell corporation controlled by a Russian oligarch. High end residential real estate is a great place to park stolen money.
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Old 21st May 2022, 06:43 AM   #25
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Just listened to an NPR segment about investors moving in to the trailer-park market.

For decades, trailers have provided low-cost housing for all sorts of people. A decent trailer can be purchased new for a fraction of the price of a house, and used even less. Rent at typical trailer parks was quite low.
But now, investors are buying up these parks from the typical mom & pop owners and promptly raising rents and making all sorts of changes to drive the occupants out so that they can lower costs and charge higher rents to new clients.

If there’s a buck to be made, speculators are going to move in.
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Old 21st May 2022, 09:03 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
The invisible hand of the free market at work!
Housing in the US isn't close to a free market, and I doubt it is in London either. Sitting on idle property is only profitable in a situation where supply is artificially constrained. If you could actually build to meet demand, then idle property would lose money, and it wouldn't be a problem if a few people did it anyways. Government solutions to problems they create are not generally better than removing the initial problem government created.
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Old 21st May 2022, 09:16 AM   #27
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I've lived several places where development happened unwisely-- the local government eagerly gave tax breaks and assistance and partnership to developers to "revitalize" the area by building fancy new things --condos, apartments, hotels, convention centers, etc-- and the developers rushed to do so because they thought they'd make a huge profit...and then the things when done were too expensive for the locals and nobody bought. The things sit empty, and either decay into ruin or get sold at a huge loss to everybody. Or are torn down to make way for a new exciting fancy development that's going to revitalize the area!!!

What we need is intelligent use, with proper planning, measured results, and realistic expectations and plans. When someone decides to build a development for X number of people at Y price make sure you can get X number of people paying Y price first. Whether it's government or private or a mixture these things should be done wisely, not rushed in the hopes of making quick money.
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Old 21st May 2022, 01:54 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by EaglePuncher View Post
It's called "Thinking before you make a move". We don't live in the Wild West anymore, sorry, dude.
Yet another liberal NIMBY, what a shock.
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Old 21st May 2022, 02:21 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Both investment housing and medical insurance provide value. In the case of an investment house that you rent, the value is that you provide housing to someone who cannot afford to buy a house, or to someone who might only live there short term and doesn't want to risk a market downturn. The renters are not poorer as a result. And medical insurance isn't fundamentally different than any other kind of insurance. It provides risk pooling. That is of value, even if you think an alternative such a single payer government plans are better.
You're describing a hypothetical alternative reality, a brainwashed right-winger's dreamworld where businesses would never even consider something so undignified as price gouging. I was referring to the reality we actually live in, where it's quite routine, particularly in certain fields.
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Old 21st May 2022, 03:40 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
There is nothing wrong with the suburbs but if I buy 10 acres of land whose business is it to tell me if I can build 5 homes on it or 50? Or if they have to be detached? The libertarian argument for multifamily in the suburbs on the right is stronger than the DEI argument on the left. And that is not a weak argument.
Are you going to improve the roads to and from this plot once you add 50 homes, even though it was zoned agricultural. What about water and sewer? If there were no externalities of your development then society would have no say. History has shown that development often can severely impact the rest of society, though.
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Old 21st May 2022, 07:26 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Are you going to improve the roads to and from this plot once you add 50 homes, even though it was zoned agricultural. What about water and sewer? If there were no externalities of your development then society would have no say. History has shown that development often can severely impact the rest of society, though.
Exactly.

Interestingly we have 50 acres behind our house in a semi rural suburb of Melbourne. Nobody would object to a 50 house subdivision, but the owner wants a 700 subdivision, which will never happen because of citizen opposition. He has already made a profit by selling six small lots which were already subdivided for $700k each.
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Old 21st May 2022, 08:24 PM   #32
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I think we're going to see a sea change in real estate in the coming decades, as the covid-inspired push for work-from-home becomes more and more established. I know people who have moved whole states away from their former offices while keeping their jobs. I think this is going to become more and more of the normal thing (hopefully not because the pandemic persists) and eventually the ripples of this change will rock real estate prices. All we need is a decent internet connection and many of us could live anywhere. What's that going to do to property values? If I can make my urban salary while living in a rural area for a fraction of the cost of living...and millions of others are in the same boat...well, I think it's going to have an effect we've not even scratched the surface of yet.
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Old 21st May 2022, 09:46 PM   #33
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To the extent that that happens at all, it would decrease prices in the currently most expensive places and increase them in some of the currently cheapest places (the ones that aren't also cheap for some other reason unrelated to lack of jobs). But most jobs can't be done that way, so it'll probably be a small effect that gets overstated by most commenters.
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Old 21st May 2022, 09:56 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
But most jobs can't be done that way
Yeah, just the ones that involve people sitting at computers. Can't be many of those around, right?
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Old 21st May 2022, 10:26 PM   #35
Delvo
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The question isn't how many jobs "involve" sitting at computers. The question is how many consist entirely of only that and never anything else at all.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 07:09 AM   #36
Ziggurat
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
You're describing a hypothetical alternative reality, a brainwashed right-winger's dreamworld where businesses would never even consider something so undignified as price gouging. I was referring to the reality we actually live in, where it's quite routine, particularly in certain fields.
Are you under the impression that price gouging cannot exist without middle men? Yeah, I'm not the one living in a fantasy world.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 02:52 PM   #37
Delphic Oracle
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
This is wrong. Both investment housing and medical insurance provide value. In the case of an investment house that you rent, the value is that you provide housing to someone who cannot afford to buy a house, or to someone who might only live there short term and doesn't want to risk a market downturn. The renters are not poorer as a result. And medical insurance isn't fundamentally different than any other kind of insurance. It provides risk pooling. That is of value, even if you think an alternative such a single payer government plans are better.
How is this a "value?"

Investors drive prices up.

Investors who are not entirely stupid charge rates above the cost of the property.

Thus the trap of figuring out how to save up a down-payment for the future while paying inflated prices in the present.

Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Middlemen are good. Nearly everything you engage with in the economy are middlemen. Did you shop at a store? That is a middleman.
A retail store provides the value of sourcing several products you want, transporting them all to the same place conveniently near where you live, provide amenities (parking, carts, employees who know what products address your needs), etc.

Maybe some take care of the property and structure itself, but in my neck of the woods it is transparently minimal cosmetic changes and instant eviction if the tenant behaves like they are aware property upkeep is the owner's responsibility.

Last edited by Delphic Oracle; 22nd May 2022 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 03:37 PM   #38
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Scalpers are not middle men.

If all you're doing is buying up stuff first because you have more money you aren't providing some service you can argue for.

The person who takes a bottle of coke from a bottling plant 50 miles away to the corner store where I can buy it easier is providing a service and he deserve a cut for that, exact details of how much to be argued separately.

This is not that. "I have enough money to buy houses before people who actually want/need to live in them" is not a skill.
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Old 22nd May 2022, 05:58 PM   #39
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There was an interesting story in today's paper - a high-end mall in the downtown core has lost most of its tenants due to the pandemic/online shopping crisis. So they're thinking perhaps they should convert it for another use. Office spaces!

There's already a huge stock of vacant offices, and several companies are now trying to force their workers back into them. What a shame if they bought a house and moved 3 hours away across the mountains, it doesn't pay the bills on the company real estate. Enjoy your new commute!
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Old 22nd May 2022, 08:08 PM   #40
Skeptic Ginger
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
...

No sensible developer builds apartments to sit and wait for future purchasers. They want them sold on completion, if not before.
Maybe not in a rapidly rising price housing market. Investors did it in Vancouver BC causing the prices to go even higher. Canada made a tax on empty houses to stop it. So that sent said investors in empty housing units here.

Reuters; 2016; Vancouver may tax vacant homes, possibly as business investments
Quote:
VANCOUVER, June 22 (Reuters) - Vancouver will find a way to tax its vacant homes, possibly by treating them as business investments, in order to ease the Canadian city’s housing affordability crisis, Mayor Gregor Robertson said on Wednesday.

If implemented, the tax could drive up costs for many foreign investors who have helped make the west coast city Canada’s most expensive property market.
Of course you are talking about the builders. But the builders are not likely to mind selling to investors who plan to keep the property vacant.

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 22nd May 2022 at 08:10 PM.
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