Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Housing market needs to change

It seems obscene that we have some egregiously priced houses and rentals, especially in the Okanagan

This is a very sad situation and not likely to be the first and only time this has happened.

What I think government needs to be doing in the municipal level is get building permits issued faster and make building homes easier for builders. Let the market for housing be open and let the prices for housing and rentals be dictated by the market. If someone wants to overcharge on a rental, and after you check out the rental they said they’ve received offers for $300 extra/month and would you do more, or, if someone wants to flip a house and pocket a quick $50,000 in less than six months, sure that is fine in a free market where supply is dictated by the market.

In Keynesian economics where the supply is controlled due to government involvement, it will artificially and drastically raise the price on items and cause a demand/price shift that wouldn’t normally be there. Without the limiting of supply, the person overcharging on rent or flipping a home, would be unable to do that as their rates would price them out of the market. Currently, with the amount of work needed to be done, and the amount of regulations in the municipal level, I’m surprised that anyone is building other than large corporate builders that have the resources to go through the dog and pony show.

For the provincial and federal governments, I wonder why the second largest country in the world, has some of the lowest vacancy rates, and some of the highest property values. Yes, I understand not all of Canada is habitable, and not everyone wants to live up north, but why is that 89 per cent of Canada is Crown land, compared to 28 per cent of the U.S. Even worse is B.C., where 94 per cent of land is Crown land. I’m not suggesting we open up all the land like the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, but some type of measured approach to releasing land to private sale in a sustainable manner would do wonders for bringing down the cost of housing in Canada. Now, I’m not suggesting we get rid of national or provincial parks, or that we stop making new ones, I would only suggest that let’s maintain the focus of environmental stewardship while still allowing for the growth of public land sales.

It seems obscene to me that we have some egregiously priced houses and rentals (especially in the Okanagan), due to government regulation and restrictions, and the answer that we’re always told is that we need to have government step in more and regulate the market. The government needs to provide guidelines, and modest regulations and allow the market to make decisions for it’s own best interest.

The last thing the housing market needs is more government overreach. Markets are designed to work well and in the most efficient manner with the individuals self-interest as the driving factor. At present, it appears that governments interest is preserving the status quo, which is overpriced housing that only benefits existing home owners already in the market.

Matt Pedersen


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