The Human Costs of Financial Deregulation – US Sub Prime Housing Lending

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_12/b4026050.htm A rather moving story from Business Week about the real victims of the crisis of the US subprime mortage market – the borrowers. The late stages of the US housing bubble were sustained by a flood of new buyers – lower income households tempted to get into the housing market by superficially low interest rate mortgages for which they […]

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Vancouver’s housing challenge

The story below was the banner headline piece on page one of today’s Vancouver Sun, and is a perfect choice for the “we told you so” file. Three years ago, after being awarded the 2010 Olympics, our BC Solutions Budget (and in subsequent editions) made many of the same points as the Olympics Housing Roundtable’s soon-to-be-released report. This report, and […]

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Affordable housing and urban design

Last Fall, in my capacity as a member of the Vancouver City Planning Commission, I helped organize a conference on affordable housing from a longer-term urban planning perspective. The final report is now available here. It features a summary of what happened at the conference, written by yours truly, but also contains lots of great visuals that were developed and […]

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Mortgage excesses in the US

This is scary: The Concerns of Comptroller of the Currency About the Excesses in the Mortgage Market Nouriel Roubini | Dec 18, 2006 A colleague in the financial sector pointed to my attention a speech that the Comptroller of the Currency – John Duggan – has recently given where he expressed some serious concerns about the growth of exotic mortgages […]

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Housing first

The Globe and Mail is running a series on homelessness in BC (at least, in its BC edition). Mark Hume reiterates the case for supportive housing arrangements to get people off the streets into a place where they can stabilize their lives. It would be highly advisable for senior governments to get back into the housing game, as the market […]

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Bubble trouble

Dean Baker has a gloomy take on the impact of the housing bubble bursting: After the Housing Bubble Bursts By Dean Baker t r u t h o u t | Perspective Tuesday 24 October 2006 Every new release of data on the housing market provides more evidence that the housing bubble is finally bursting. Compared with year-ago levels, nationwide […]

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Happy 60th birthday, CMHC! You’re fired.

Today’s Globe has a story that the feds are contemplating the privatization of CMHC. Let me get this straight. With the run-up in real estate prices, housing affordability is perhaps as bad as it has ever been. In recent years, CMHC has pulled away from supporting the creation of new affordable housing (although it does help support existing social housing […]

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BC’s new rent supplements

The BC government has introduced a new program to address the crisis in housing affordability: rent supplements. Over the past five years, the BC government has stopped building affordable housing for low income people. There has been new federal money for this purpose but the government has used that money to build “assisted living” spaces for seniors (properly part of […]

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What the homeless need …

are homes. I find Globe columnist on BC, Gary Mason, obnoxious much of the time, but in this two-column effort to come to grips with Vancouver and Victoria’s growing army of street people, he gets it right. Time to try a home remedy for the homeless … In a groundbreaking study 15 years ago, Prof. Culhane found that 80 per […]

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BC’s poverty amidst plenty

My latest column for The Tyee: Without any fanfare a report popped up on the web site of Human Resources and Social Development Canada this past month. No press release, no communications strategy at all. Just another statistical report on poverty in a society that thinks of itself as middle class. But this is not just another statistical report on […]

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Bubble bubble toil and trouble?

The bad news is starting to come in from south of the border. For those interested in following bubblemania, I recommend The Vancouver Housing Market Blog. The LA Times reports: The chief economist of the California Assn. of Realtors has stopped using the term “soft landing” to describe the state’s real estate market, saying she no longer feels comfortable with […]

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Housing the Homeless and Addicted

The New York Times reports on a Seattle initiative to provide homes for homeless alcoholics. They do not require sobriety to get a spot, a development that rankles moralistic conservatives. The reason is economics: it costs less to house them than what is currently spent on health care, detox and criminal justice. New York and some other major US cities […]

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