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Locals will get first dibs on condo presales in Vancouver’s plan

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says he will introduce a motion at the next city council meeting to prioritize the sale of presale condominiums to locals.

“Local residents” are defined as people who live and work in Metro Vancouver, and whose permanent address and workplace is in the region. However, the person’s citizenship will not be a factor.

“In Vancouver’s red-hot housing market, local employers are crunched to retain talent, whether they’re doctors, tech workers, retailers, firefighters, teachers or nurses,” said Robertson in a statement. “At a time when we are seeing record levels of housing construction, local residents should be able to get the first shot at purchasing a home in new developments.”

Westbank’s Horseshoe Bay project is West Vancouver is one project the mayor says he would like to model Vancouver’s policy after.

West Vancouver city council negotiated an agreement with the developer to only market the project to local residents during the first 30 days, before opening it up to residents of Metro Vancouver.

Purchasers were required to sign a statutory declaration to demonstrate their intention to live in the building and not flip their unit, and bulk purchases of units were also restricted.

Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute, a non-profit industry group representing developers, planners and real estate professionals, says the majority of presale units are already sold to local buyers.

“UDI members already sell the vast majority of multi-family housing units — over 90 per cent — to local buyers, which is often a bank construction financing requirement,” McMullin said in a statement Friday afternoon. “In addition to limiting presales to foreign buyers, banks also discourage bulk purchases of units to further inhibit speculative sales and decrease financial risk.”

“While the city’s new policy framework may have public appeal, the UDI recommends the city increase supply through density bonuses, reduced fees or expedited building approvals, all of which would improve affordability for locals and working professionals,” said McMullin.

Vancouver’s next civic election will take place on October 20, 2018. A by-election will take place next weekend for one city councillor and nine school board trustees.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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