The average family can’t afford to live in Vancouver! Vancouver resident’s need to make $20,000 and $40,000 more each year to buy an average house compared to the other major cities in Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton). Priced out of the market, all but the wealthy are forced into smaller, lower quality housing. Vancouver has higher house prices relative to income than anywhere else in Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the United States.

We think this difference is caused by Vancouver’s land use policies. The same policies have also made Vancouver’s traffic congestion the worst in North America, and third worst in the high-income world.

Vancouver is focused on the wrong priorities. The world is urban, people move to the cities to better their lives. The purpose of cities is to facilitate a higher standard of living for residents and to reduce poverty.The public policy priority of most governments is to make life better by helping to create a higher standard of living and reducing poverty.

Urban containment policy, popular in Vancouver, works against our hopes and dreams of a better standard of living! “compact city policy,” “smart growth” “livability” tries to limit development
beyond the urban fringe. The imbalance of demand over supply for residential land drives up house prices. The increase in housing costs, reduces discretionary income, which translates into a lower standard of living and more poverty.

There are few, if any, places where this loss of housing affordability and reduction in the standard of living is more evident than in Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver, through its Regional Growth Strategy, oversees land and transportation policy in the Vancouver metropolitan area. A principal feature is urban containment banning urbanization on most of the developable land.

Mr. Wendall Cox, writing for The Frontier Centre for Public Policy ( has written a terrific analysis of the damage these policies are doing. You can read the entire study right here.

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