EDITORIAL: What goes up...

The North Shore’s housing market ain’t what it used to be, at least for single-family homes. According to the latest round of property assessments, the average house in West Van is now worth $2.8 million, for tax purposes, down from $3.2 million in July 2017.

Markets are cyclical by nature but they can certainly be swayed by outside influences. Rising interest rates, tighter mortgage lending rules, foreign currency controls can all have an impact. Provincially, the foreign buyers’ tax, speculation tax and the increased school tax may not be to everyone’s liking but they appear to be having the intended effect of cooling the market that had been previously running reckless.

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While single-family homes aren’t the winning lottery tickets they were a couple years ago, condo values are up between six and seven per cent across the North Shore. The average assessment for a condo in the City of North Van is $707,000, although industry experts predict the condo market’s turnaround has already begun.

Because of the way municipal budgets and assessments work, people who own single-family homes worth millions will likely see some of their tax burden from previous years shifted onto condo owners for 2018.

But even with a year or two of declines, the price of four walls and a roof on the North Shore is prohibitively high if you’re hoping to buy into the market on a typical local salary. For now, we should be less concerned about the shifting of our tax burden and more about the shifting of commuting patterns because, without affordable housing, our businesses will be increasingly relying on our roads and our transit system to bring workers in.

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