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Candidates from all of the major Vancouver civic parties had the opportunity to share their views and outline their plans regarding real estate at an evening titled “Housing Policy in the 2018 Vancouver Civic Election: A Candidates’ Panel,” hosted by UBC Sauder’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate.


With its jaw-dropping real estate prices and sky-high rents, Vancouver is regularly named among the most expensive cities in the world; at the same time, many homeowners are banking on the housing market to fund their retirements, while young families are flocking to more affordable regions.

So it’s no wonder that housing is the number one issue for a large cross-section of Vancouver voters — and with this year’s civic election fast approaching, where candidates stand on this issue could determine who becomes the city’s next mayor and council.

This month, candidates from all of the major civic parties had the opportunity to share their views and outline their plans at an evening titled “Housing Policy in the 2018 Vancouver Civic Election: A Candidates’ Panel.”

Hosted by UBC Sauder’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate and moderated by Vancouver journalists Ian Bushfield and Nadia Stewart, the forum drew members of the development, planning and real estate communities, as well as alumni, students, housing advocates, interested voters and the media.

“We do this every year. It's a real treat to get familiar faces back together to discuss topics of interest related to real estate,” said UBC Sauder associate professor and director of the Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate Tom Davidoff as he introduced the evening. “Our thinking this year was with a municipal election coming, why not talk about what candidates propose to do about a thorny issue — that being housing — and broader land use questions generally.”

The panellists included current city councillor and mayoral candidate Hector Bremner, veteran anti-poverty activist and COPE council candidate Jean Swanson, Green Party council candidate Pete Fry, Vision candidate Diego Cardona, NPA mayoral candidate and entrepreneur Ken Sim, independent mayoral candidate Shauna Sylvester, OneCity council candidate Christine Boyle, ProVancouver mayoral candidate David Chen, and former NDP MP and independent mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart.

At the lively forum, the candidates were asked about the number of housing units they would create, how they would clear the massive backlog of permit applications, what role community consultations should play in deciding which developments get the green light, whether community amenity contributions from developers should be negotiated or set at a specific rate, and how best to house the city’s fast-growing seniors population.

The participants were also asked several “lightning round” questions about whether they rent or own their homes, at what rates rent increases should be capped — if at all — and whether or not they would approve a particular (fictional) project.

Their views and proposed plans ran the gamut of the Vancouver political spectrum, and offered an important dialogue about one of the city’s most pressing, and most controversial, issues.

The Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate supports research and education in real estate and urban economics at UBC, and actively supports the academic work of UBC students with the professional community through internships and targeted research papers, as well as by sponsoring events

“Housing in Vancouver has always been a hot-button issue politically, but now more than ever — and with very few incumbent candidates we’re on the precipice of a big change at City Hall,” says Davidoff. “At UBC Sauder we’re thrilled to be part of the conversation, and to present such a diversity of viewpoints. These are the discussions that will help voters decide the future of housing in the city for years to come.”

To watch a replay of the event, visit this link for a recording of our webcast:
https://mediasite.audiovisual.ubc.ca/Mediasite/Play/8e076d624a554b6da159518bb49d29811d