Thursday, October 16, 2014

Density Does Not Equal Affordability

As we head into the municipal election, it's assumed that density will be one of the topics of discussion, as well as the overall lack of "affordable housing."

Although a suburban region like North Vancouver tends to think in terms of single family home ownership, there's a large part of the population who need rental housing.

New today at is a very interesting analysis of why the housing market hasn't been creating rental housing, and why endless condo development doesn't lead to truly affordable housing.

Multi-unit housing construction has increasingly favoured condominiums over purpose-built rental buildings over the past decade. Although a significant share of condominiums in major cities is rented out, they typically have higher rents and represent a less stable housing supply for tenants.

Private developers have favoured condominium development over purpose-built rental buildings because of the higher returns and lower risk involved. Condominium units can be presold, whereas purpose-built rental buildings must be fully constructed before being rented out. … [as well as] preferential tax treatment of owner-occupied housing, which is not subject to tax on imputed rents or capital gains upon sale, whereas investors in rental property are taxed on rental income and 50% of capital gains at their marginal income tax rate. Increasing expectations of capital gains may have made these tax biases more important over time.


Anonymous said...

Agreed, but when supply exceeds demand, prices drop. This can never happen across the entire spectrum of housing in Vancouver because there is a limitation on the availability of land and some housing forms, by definition can't be built in tower form.

The current building focus on the North Shore will have the effect of lowering (Or holding down) the market value of apartments, Check mark. Success.

If the purchase values are lower because supply is vast, then the rental values for the same type of properties will also be reduced. Check mark. Success.

Anonymous said...

Except for increased traffic congestion, pollution, noise, crime, and general loss of livability for the residents who live here now.

Anonymous said...

Traffic congestion is largely the result of sprawl with people travelling long distances to work, not apartment dwellers.

The second highest source of carbon emissions and pollution is buildings, and I can tell you that new multi family housing is far more efficient than old detached homes.

Noise? Multifamily buildings are typically a lot quieter and include less do-it-yourselfers that make tons of noise.

Crime? The crime rates in Canada's least dense areas are typically a lot higher than our most dense communities. New buildings include many crime prevention features that didn't exist 30 years ago.

Loss of Livability? What measure are you using for that term? Cost of Living is the best indicator in my view, and dense areas with good employment opportunities command high prices.

Anonymous said...

You can rant all you want. It is the building of way too many market condominiums that is causing all the problems mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

Many of these condos are poorly built
Look at the Shangri la on Bewicke,
particle board!!

Nothing is for ever, this frenzy could end in a hurry

Anonymous said...

Poorly built buildings will fall into the garbage dumps. The reason we are dictated to recycle so much, is because they will need enough room to dump these poorly built monster condos within 30 to 50 years time. Ha!
"Glass panels have been falling off newly built Toronto condos, including the luxury Shangri-La and Trump towers and a dozen or more lesser-known buildings across the city. New buildings suffer from water leaks and poor insulation, making them ill-suited to Canadian weather."

"In 50 years these buildings may well become an urban slum" It is Greed, not need that propels these developers! Ha!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the last three posts are all from the same person. Building codes do not allow for particle board to be used for structural purposes. Perhaps the writer is confusing it with OSB (strand board) which is much stronger and can be made weather proof which particle board definitely is not. Check your facts before opening your yap!

Anonymous said...

As usual, on this blog, there are a lot of people commenting about things they know nothing about. If only they would realize that, to the educated and engaged, they come off as sounding like wingnuts.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9:27

Take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. This is what a wingnut looks like.

Anonymous said...

I can assure you, Anon 12:09am, that those three comments are not from one specific individual. I am Anon 5:38pm. I don't know who the other two are. Don't make assumptions about what you don't know. Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

The main main complaint of strand board (most people call it particle board) is its intolerance to moisture.

Manufacturers say "this problem has been largely fixed with different resins and waxes that create water repellency"

The real reason is that strand board is cheaper than plywood, at about half the price!

Ka-ching! More savings for the developers.

Strand boards are mixed with wax and adhesive and compressed. Approximately 50 layers of wood strands make one sheet of stand board.

Even though manufacturers now use better adhesives and resins (more adhesives and resins?) in strand board, the product's edges are still susceptible to swelling once they are cut in the field.

Okay, wax and adhesives, and resins needed.

The major disadvantage of strand board is that if it gets exposed to significant amounts of water or moisture, the edges expand by up to 15%, especially if they are cut edges. This swell will then telegraph onto the shingles or some flooring.

After Hurricane Andrew tore through South Florida in 1992,the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners banned strand board for use as roof sheathing.

A few sources agree that the product’s moisture tolerances have greatly improved, many say it still does not perform as well as plywood.

Plywood overall is highly moisture tolerant and dries faster than strand board when it does get wet.

To make plywood, manufacturers shave thin sheets of veneer from a log. Once these sheets have been dried, the manufacturer applies adhesives and arranges the sheets alternating 90 degrees to each other and applies heat and pressure. The cross lamination of the sheets give the boards their strength, stiffness, and helps with expansion and contraction.

Plywood’s main attribute is that it’s stiff, strong, and durable, and lighter than strand board. Strand board's higher weight means higher thermal conductivity (thus slightly less R value) than plywood.

You be the judge.

Anonymous said...

In other words it is cheap or cheaper than plywood.

Anonymous said...

Given the choice, obviously plywood is the preferred choice, however, Friday, October 17, 2014 3:20:00 pm called it particle board and obviously knows very little about construction and building codes!

Anonymous said...

OSB (Oriented Strand Board) Is not a part of the building envelope and should not be exposed to excess amounts of water unless you have an internal leak, in which case, you have a lot more to worry about than the potential 15% expansion of the ends.

OSB meets the building code, it meets the expected MSR and other engineering standards, there is nothing wrong with using it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 9:34am, real world experience says otherwise. I will never specify the use of OSB in any building that I design. Particularly in our climate when builders regularly leave it exposed to the elements for weeks or months during our rainy season. Without a weather barrier, OSB will delaminate and become useless. As will plywood, but not as quickly.

As for OSB meeting the building code, the code is a minimum standard. If you want a minimum standard building, by all means be satisfied with the use of OSB in any home you may purchase.

Anonymous said...


Pathetic, hope I never have to consume anything you produce

Anonymous said...

Your petty snobbery does not impress. The building code is sound. It is what the experts in engineering, design and regulation have agreed to. You may pretend to use some mythical magical alternative to plywood and OSB in your construction but it seems unlikely since the entire industry is using OSB and Plywood.

Anonymous said...

Anyone can see how much OSB is being used as building envelopes, these days...unless you are willfully blind.

Anonymous said...

OSB and plywood are being used a sheathing. Sheathing is only one component of a building envelope. My preference is for plywood as it performs better than OSB when exposed to wet weather for extended periods of time. Ideally, neither material will be exposed to weather for longer than absolutely necessary. Truthfully, though, many builders allow a framed and sheathed building to be exposed to the weather longer than ideal. The code may allow the use of OSB but I prefer not to. And yes, I do think plywood is worth the additional expense.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anon 4:55pm for your excellent and sincere explanation.
Perhaps someone should go around taking pictures of OSB sheathed buildings exposed to the last few days pouring rain? Buyer beware!

Anonymous said...

Voters beware! Don't elect incumbents in either of the North Vans.

Anonymous said...

The current incumbents are the reason we have such issues right now with traffic, poor transit and pro-developer positions to densification. The two north van coucils, and particularly DNV, are horrible. We need change. Please educate yourselfs and vote.

Anonymous said...

Educate ourselves to your way of thinking is what you mean, right?

Anonymous said...

No, I just shared my personal thoughts and opinions, it is for you to decide after you inform and educate yourself how you feel and what you believe. Again, my feelings are, all these problems have occurred under the guidance and direction of the current council. Why would we re-elect these candidates if they are the primary reasons and sources of these issues?

Anonymous said...

CNV Mayoral Candidates' Meeting tomorrow, Sunday, at Centennial Theatre, 2 PM.

sue lakes cook said...

I sent an email to every single candidate for the City of North Vancouver. I asked 4 questions and one of them was if they would give an actual figure of what they considered affordable (rental and house prices)for the incomes that are here NOW.

The only 2 who responded were Pam Bookham and Rod Clark and they both indicated rents should run around the $800.00 - $1,000.00 a month range, neither answered the house price but they may not have realized I would like those figures as well.

Good to know who actually will take the time to answer the public and it looks like I will only be voting for these 2 because they appear to be the only ones who are willing to do so.

So far I will not be voting for a Mayor.

Better make sure you get out and vote because for sure the 3 groups the present Mayor and Council are backing will be out in droves.

Anonymous said...

Great CNV Mayoral candidates' meeting at Centennial Theatre today, moderated by Kevin Evans.

The place was about 3/4 full and there were quite a few outbursts of support for Kerry Morris.

Anonymous said...

Morris left his cellphone turned on and it rang while he was speaking.

Smart move Kerry!