A senior member of the Kettle Boffo team that wants to build a massive over-sized tower on the corner of Venables and Commercial Drive loves to retweet on Twitter material regarding “affordable housing,” as if that is important to him. We also know that it is becoming difficult in Grandview to find affordable housing.
So, yesterday, I asked him (and copied to Boffo Properties) a simple question:
“How many of the Boffo condos on the Drive are planned to be affordable under CMHC definitions for median income Vancouver families with minimum legal down payment?”
All of the variables are easy to find:
- CMHC (and most other) definitions of “affordable housing” consider 30% of gross income to be the maximum of affordable.
- The latest Stats Can figure (2015) for median family income in Vancouver is $72,662. I’d be happy for them to use $75,000.
- The minimum down payment in Canada is 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for the balance above $500,000.
So far, there has been absolute silence from them. I wonder why that is? Could it be that none of the condos will be affordable to the average Vancouver family? If so, how is that helping the situation in Grandview?
If the Boffo Tower is designed for the global luxury market rather than to help house regular locals, that’s up to them, but let’s not have any of the partners suggest this has anything to do with affordability.
What I did get in return for my question was the typical nonsense from the build, build, build crowd. As usual they say that a $651,000 condo (now the median price in Vancouver) is more affordable than a $2 million single-family property. While that is technically true it still doesn’t make the condo genuinely affordable. This argument is exactly the same as telling a working family they should buy an Aston Martin rather than a Lamborghini when what they actually need is a Ford Escort.