As the Victoria-area housing market heats up, their small-character houses are coming down due to the demand for bigger, newer houses. Developers and incoming buyers, flush with money, are targeting the historic municipality of Oak Bay, which has not protected its homes as rigorously as adjacent Victoria has protected much of its original housing stock.
Our old houses, considered rubbish to many, have become American treasure.
But an American community is turning the old houses into part of the solution to their affordability problem. A group in San Juan Island, Wash., has purchased seven Oak Bay houses and once they’ve raised enough funds, they are planning to purchase five more.
This story will make your blood boil if you have any modicum of interest in Canadian housing markets. The housing market in Canada is of course absolutely full of shit, with Vancouver pricing itself to a point where only senior executives will be able to afford the place by 2025. This of course would be bad for the labor market because the executive-types both rely on low-wage workers (who else will clean their houses, raise their children, or drive their cars?) and don’t seem interested in paying attention to the problem at hand. This is a slow-moving glacier of a problem; it will utterly crush Vancouver but it’s moving at a rate where a coherent plan could help.
Naturally, caker-business and Chinese wealth develop hives upon even hearing the word “plan” and thus have no interest in civic or indeed self-preservation. Meanwhile, in Evil AmeriKKKa, wealthy businessmen are spearheading the movement of houses from Victoria for the sake of affordable housing. You see, AmeriKKKa has taken some time in between cackling evilly at the full moon and kicking puppies in shelters to think about the prospect of cities pricing their low-wage workers literally out of their cities. They have come to the conclusion that they -*GASP*- might actually need those baristas and students if they want their city to work.
In Washington, one of the worst-hit victims of the affordability crisis, the solution is to take some of Canada’s old housing. You know, the kind of charactered, interesting housing that creates desirable neighborhoods and achieves many of the goals promised by the federal Liberals? Yeah, fuck having any of that – what Victoria and its insane housing market need is less efficient, soulless McMansions in suburbs. Because in a contest between long-term civic health and short-term profiteering, it’s obvious which Canada will go for. In fact, that’s even the reason cited by Heritage Vancouver in the first article: “There aren’t enough financial incentives to save them. They have to have their own initiative to save a house.” Because obviously the only thing that matters is making money.
Unlike those Wicked No-Good AmeriKKKans and their plan to have the barged-over houses available to people making the median wage in the are, Canadians are making sure that the poor are well-off by bartering and fucking about with one of the most critical and expensive parts of urban life in the name of short-term profits.