For the record: Bob Rennie’s 2016 address to development industry (UDI) 2-June-2016

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Link to video and transcript of Bob Rennie’s speech to Urban Development Institute, June 2, 2016.

Bob Rennie, known as “Condo King” in the Metro Vancouver region for his many years of success in marketing condos, gave his fourteenth and final annual address to the Urban Development Institute on June 2, 2016, with 1,000 people present, many who were key persons from the development industry as well as government policy makers present. The UDI is a powerful lobby group looking after the interests of the construction and developer industry. The theme of his talk this year was “We Have To Change the Narrative,” with his main point–unsurprisingly–being that to solve the housing unaffordability crisis in the BC Lower Mainland, the solution is totally supply-side oriented. Build more. We could paraphrase it as “Build, baby, build.”

Anyone trying to address the issues of housing unaffordability in the region would be wise to familiarize themselves with Rennie’s world view, and examine its merits as well as gaps in logic. Why? Being in charge of fundraising for and also being a major donor to the current ruling party in British Columbia, the BC Liberals, as well as a key fundraiser and donor for the ruling Vision Vancouver civic party in Vancouver, Rennie’s views hold sway with the ruling elite and with industry.

We provide the text below, for convenience of readers.

Bob Rennie: Hello. Norm, thank you very much for the overly generous kind words. Can everybody hear me okay? I don’t know whether there’s two mics going on, but there’s some sort of feedback so we’re going to try this with my new phone …

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: … that the office got me. But first, you know, I think we always forget to thank sponsors and we take their money. I just want to thank KPMG. I’d like to thank Denton’s and Travelers, ITC, and Dialog and especially Norm. And before I start, I also want to thank David Baxter, who helps me and does a lot of work on in research data, and Ryan Berlin and Andy Ramlo with Urban Futures. I don’t know how many mornings Andy meets with me to try an explain what a graph really is. I come up with the question and he has to go through this inordinate amount of detail to explain it to me. So I’ll get that out of the way, and thank you.

And maybe what I’ll get out of the way very fast is the card that’s on your table, I’ll explain what the front is in my talk but the numbers on the back are, to me, very, very important numbers that will come out of today’s talk. So I’ll just dive into it.

Every year Sylvia Kim, Kevin Wong, and myself, we have a lot of fun picking out an opening song. This year “How Long Has This Been Going On” seemed very, very appropriate given the name of the title of today’s talk is, “We have to change the narrative.” If we look at how long has this been going on, how long have we been talking about affordability. If this was a relationship, it would be over.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: There’s Peter Wall (laughs). Okay, okay. This is the time to change the narrative on affordability, whether we’re talking about affordability in the city or if we’re talking about affordability in the region, Metro Vancouver, the region, there is not going to be any affordability without a transportation solution. We have to be able to get to work and we have to be able to get home and we have to be less reliant on the car. Any density solution in isolation of transit will not solve the problem.

Mr. Fassbender, yes? There he is.

Affordability is a very complex issue. There’s no quick fix. There’s no silver bullet to curb demand and increase supply. A quick story. When I was on the board of BC Housing a few years ago, a reporter called and said, “How can you belong to the board of BC Housing when single-handedly you caused this unaffordability?”

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: And I replied, “Seriously, you think that encouraging developers to create housing supply is what causes the unaffordability in our region and less supply would mean lower prices? Seriously.” The reporter said, “We’re not sure whether we want to do the story anyways”, and they never did get back, hence, no story.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: Nobody wants the facts.

So this next part of my talk, Norm was going to mention my fascination with Donald Trump and I was going to say, and Norm, on Donald Trump … but he didn’t. I do watch “The Donald” and I watch in absolute fascination. We’ve gone from the innocence of all of us saying, gee, Celebrity Apprentice is cancelled. Let’s watch the election to Trump absolutely disseminating his opponents and now he may actually become president of the United States. So like this guy or not, he changed the narrative. Donald Trump showed us that you cannot address emotional issues with just data, and you cannot address emotional issues with just policy. You can only address emotion with emotion. We can learn that emotional issues should be addressed only with emotion.

But what we have to remember to address emotion with emotion only once you have the data. And housing is a very emotionally charged issue out there. You read the front page of every second day in the newspaper. There’s no sense of reason from Donald Trump because he is emotion lacking data. Emotion with data allows for a reasonable outcome. What I want to accomplish today is to share the data that is needed to get out ahead of some of these housing issues. There are a few other narratives out there that need to be changed.

A big one, one of the narratives that we have to change is the perception of this room. We have to change the narrative around the development industry. This industry isn’t the housing problem. This industry, this room, is an important part of the solution and a major, major, major employer. Your delivery is way ahead of your brand. This room causes supply and only supply will cool the market. This room builds rental, entry level, mid-market, and luxury. We seem to be ashamed of all these titles, but we do it.

Today the demand is in all sectors of housing and your CACs build daycare centers, rental community centers, social housing, theaters, rehearsal halls and you save heritage and jobs, jobs that fuel our economy. Anne McMullin, our leader, you’re going to have to let the public know that without supply, there’s not going to be any affordability. There won’t be any community amenities.

In 2015 there were 42 development approvals in the City of Vancouver creating $103 million in public benefits. Over the last 6 years, 2010 through 2015, there have been over $650 million in public benefits. Bravo to the city, but this is why the world wants to live here. We have it all. And bravo to the development industry and you should be on every blog, every media source boasting that without the Daniel Boffos there won’t be a kettle society. Without the Ryan Beedies there’s no seniors in Chinatown. Our governments are struggling with healthcare and education. If Gregor builds it, the taxpayer pays for it. If Minister Coleman builds it, the taxpayer pays for it. Let’s change the narrative because we all have the data.

Here’s a glimpse into the future. Will greater Vancouver see the next phase in activism similar to San Francisco? BARF, Bay Area Renters Federation – a bit Star-Trek-like – they have become an important voice in the housing debate. They’re a voice of young people who are asking the simple question: What is my future in San Francisco, and where will I live? They have activated a new generation of pro-housing activists. Can you imagine, pro-housing? Ms. Trauss, the founder, supports all of it so long as it’s built tall and built soon.

Ms. Trauss’ mantra, you have to support building even when it’s a type of building you hate. She said, “Is it ugly? Get over yourself. Is it low-income housing in your neighborhood? Get over yourself. Is it luxury? Get over yourself.” Trauss continues, “We really need everything right now. I said it last year, nothing would open downtown under $800 per square foot. Here we are 54 weeks later and nothing in downtown Vancouver will open for less than $1,300 per square foot, and if we’re not careful, we’re on our way to $2,000 per square foot. Change our approach to supply. When Main Street is selling at over $900 per square foot, there was a land sale at Main and Second for $310 per square foot.

Ryan Homes has teamed with Ian Gillespie at Fifth and Main. Ryan’s keeping all of those amazing HootSuite jobs in our city, but at $1,000 per square foot, there is absolutely no affordability for his workers. And the False Creek Flats is proposed with zero residential right now. San Francisco has failed their middle class with a population of 850,000. Vancouver is at 650,000. Let’s not fail our middle class, and let’s also not fail our next generations.

Writing for today’s talk, I wanted to leave that data and the fact that supply is the only solution. The data that will help the change the narrative around topics like living where we work. The Starbucks conversation is and continues to be if we work in this city, we should be allowed to live in this city. Before we answer the question, do we even understand today’s office environment, today’s new technology, today’s new workers? I grabbed lunch with Aaron Dentwistle, Aaron, Darren Entwistle, sorry, last week. TELUS is spending is $7 billion in British Columbia on fiber, preparing for the future, preparing for a digital economy, preparing for a digital society. The future is, who goes to work anymore?

35% of the TELUS employees today work from their home and 30% of TELUS employees work on the road and don’t have a desk. Let’s make sure that that data and from out of that lunch is, to me it’s a confirmation that livability and affordability is moving out to the region. The question, could we ever accommodate everyone that works in the city to actually live in the city? Let’s put aside whether living close to work would ever be a top buying factor when buying a home or a condo when our family, our kids’ schools, our daycare, our lifestyle, our transit might be the real priorities.

The population of greater Vancouver is 2,555,000. The population of the City of Vancouver is 650,000. The city has 25% of the region’s population and the city has 33% of the region’s job locations. In Manhattan, their population doubles every day with people coming into work and going home. They have transit. If you’re listening, the city has a greater share of jobs than it does of population. So the numbers on the back of your card is 197,000. If every person that worked in the city wanted to live in the city, the population would have to increase by 197,000. That would be a 30% increase in population.

To have everyone in the city living where they work, we would have add 76,000 dwellings into the city. And knowing that we could never create another single-family lot in Vancouver in my lifetime and that currently we’re hanging on for dear life, the 56% of Vancouver’s land to be zoned RS1 and single family. So to add 76,000 dwellings we could build 380 30-story towers. That’s sort of like one City of Lougheed …

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: (Laughs) Or we could tear down 12,666 single-family homes and build 76,000 town homes at six town homes per lot. But on the town house idea, that might be something we should be doing anyways.

So changing topics, let’s talk about China. It seems to be everybody’s favorite. China is everywhere. Every investment that you look at, China looks at, too. Wanda Corp. out of China, they just bought AMC theaters in the United States. You watch the latest Mission Impossible, not just to look at Tom Cruise, but you watch the latest Mission Impossible and you see that it’s produced by Alibaba and the China Movie Channel. They’re everywhere. We pretend it’s only here.

China is in every major city, not just Vancouver. The difference is China wants to actually live here, not just invest here. China and soon all of Europe might be looking for a safe haven from violence, pollution, and corruption. People come here to escape government intervention. The vote in Scotland to leave failed. Brexit, the Brit’s vote on June 23rd to leave the EU. If you read today’s polls, they might. Hopefully, they’re wrong. Eventually somebody will leave the EU. Eventually the EU will be in poop. And then throw in a president Trump. Then what are we going to do, seriously? Money from the EU is already moving here. I have watched this for 41 years now. The money comes and then the people come. We knew China was coming a long time ago. We know that when money is allowed to flow from China, it flows. And when it’s not allowed to flow, it really, really flows.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: See, and I say that every year and every year you laugh (laughs).

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: I ended last year dropping a pebble in the pond. Should we tax foreign ownership? And what would Mr. Trump say to Canada taxing Americans? But on China, China buys $6 billion a year of British Columbia’s exports. Are we going to tamper with those jobs and that economy? I said no to taxing foreign ownership. We just don’t need the optics of a solution. We need a solution. I still believe that a speculation tax has to be explored if we really want to cool the market. We have to make sure that anything we do either creates supply or curbs demand. And a speculation tax could possibly ease pressure at the lower end of the market where we should be worried.

A foreign ownership tax of 10% on a 5-million-dollar home will not stop a sale or create any affordability. Either that house will sell for 5.4, 4.8, or the buyer will pay the 10%. It will not change demand or supply one iota. And after six months when a foreign ownership tax fails, it will only cause racially charged conversations to go beyond where they are today. We count the vacant homes and we count the Chinese names, why? Charge 10,000 on a vacant lot to cut the grass. If you can ever figure out which home is vacant and causing neighborhood risk and which one is just a Vancouverite that are down at their vacant home getting a tan in Palm Springs?

We want foreign money to invest, create jobs, buy Canada’s oil and buy BC’s forest products. We are in deep. Can you imagine where tuition would be, where, where taxes would be without foreign residents here, knowing foreign students are now responsible for over 26% of UBC’s revenue, 24% of SFU’s revenue, and over 41% of the University of Emily Carr’s revenue? We have the data. The city can have lower density or lower prices, but you cannot have both. You can read David Baxter’s blog. David says if you want more on this topic.

I believe that London has gone to a no marketing real estate outside of London for the first six months. Rennie Marketing doesn’t market offshore. 2.2% of our condo sales at The Independent at King’s Way and Broadway and less than 4% at Brentwood were to China. Nobody here needs to market in China because we have no supply. Not even in the 2,000-dollar-per-square properties. Grosvenor Ambleside, I believe, is the only development achieving an average of over $2,000 per square foot and they’re all local, even the 17-million-dollar penthouse is local. Shannon, at the Peter Wall Mansion, local marketing, we have no supply. Why would you?

And then … sorry, moving ahead. Shane Ramsey, I don’t know whether this is your line or mine, but nobody in Toronto is trying to solve affordability in Rosedale or Forest Hills because they look at the region of metro Toronto, the population of 5.5 million. We cannot solve affordability if we only look at the city where the 650,000 live, but maybe we can where the 2.55 million live throughout Metro Vancouver.

Here’s a quick fact. Home ownership in Canada, all metro regions, is 66%. Metro Toronto is at 68%. Metro Vancouver is at 65%, so we’re right in there. And Winnipeg has only 60% home ownership, cheaper houses, less ownership. Montreal is only at 55%. We are at 65%, so let’s get some home ownership goals. How far above Canada’s metro region average do we want to be? They’re 66%, we’re 65%.

But the question is never brought up. Is there any city in the world, any major city, that has over 80% home ownership? So we all talk about this but we don’t set the goals. There’s no metrics. It’s just sells newspapers and gets everybody all upset at dinner. So where does the entitlement to having to live in the city in a single-family detached home come from? We have to change the narrative on ownership types and all home ownership conversations have to be about metro. On millennials the myth is they’re leaving and fleeing greater Vancouver. They are not fleeing. 20 to 34-year-olds in the City of Vancouver rose 9.5% in the years 2005 through 2015, and it’s going to continue to grow as you, as you see oil and forced fire problems in Alberta, they’re moving here.

Millennials are the largest single demographic in greater Vancouver. We do have the data. If we don’t change the narrative right now, our dataless speculation is going to come true. 42.7% of metro Vancouver’s population is foreign born. Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexico out. David Suzuki says, “We’re full, don’t let anybody else in.” So now we’ll have the David Suzuki Foundation phone and blast me, not because of what I said, but because I hurt their brand. His voice is stronger than mine and he does not have the right to say that. He represents Canada.

I ended last year’s talk with we’re all at a real crossroads. Neighborhoods and communities are scared. How do we want to keep families, youth, and energy, and our seniors in our city and keep our good governments in office? But we cannot ignore the fact that we’re trying to do it on the most expensive land in Canada. As I said, affordability is a regional issue and this is the narrative that we have to change. Every survey, every statistic for the city is seen to represent the entire region and it’s deceptive. And it hurts supply and it keeps people on the sidelines.

So right now I’d like to go to where I was going to start or end my talk today. I don’t know why I put in here, but I thought I should. There’s a rumor out there and I know because I started it and that’s my, that’s my hobby (laughs).

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: I had so many places to go with this but my family said don’t (laughs).

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: This is will be my last UDI I talk. I absolutely love being up here, but you got to remember I’m the guy without grade 12 and you caused me to go back to university every year. This is over 200 hours of preparation for me to do this, so 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … Anne, you should have a text from Michael Geller by now.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: See …

Audience: (Applause)

Bob Rennie: I love my relationship with the UDI and all of you. If any of you attended a couple weeks, I moderated a panel discussion with Joe Segal, Joe Houssian, and Bob Lee. To me, it was a lot of fun. I’ve been talking to Anne about curating the odd panel and moderate for the UDI. One of my, uh, Chief Gibby Jacob, I don’t have permission to say this, but I’m going to say it. So one of my first panels would be to have Chief Gibby Jacob and we could discuss how China is taking your land away again. See, it didn’t go over, did it? (laughs).

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: Over the past 14 years you have turned my company into data junkies. We spent over a $1 million on technology and data management last year alone to better understand the consumer and react to the marketplace and to advise industry and consumers. We don’t think we should let 12 months go by in releasing data, so I think we’ll look at releasing data quarterly. This is where I want to sum up my 14 years up here with you and say something so smart and I really don’t have that. But I just don’t have that magic sentence but what I am very, very worried that we’re allowing home ownership and ethnicity to be politicized and it’s very polarizing. We have the data to figure out the future. Let’s not put our future generations at risk.

Today for me is a great opportunity to do a little audit. I started up here with you in 2002. Just before Expo ’86, when in 1986 when only 56.4% of greater Vancouver’s households were homeowners and 43.6 were tenants. Today, 65% are homeowners and 35% are tenants. 17% more ownership and 22% fewer tenancies. Since Expo was in town in 1986, I was selling a single-family house every second day. I had a pager and a roll of quarters and no cell phone. My ex-wife wouldn’t let me have a cell phone. She said they’re only for drug dealers.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: Then in 1988 I was interviewed for Vancouver Business Magazine. I was explaining why W was the most expensive letter in the alphabet comparing it to the E and an east side address, like 2570 East Fifth, and the W in a west side address, an analogy to the game show Wheel of Fortune. I was insistent that one day you won’t say you live on the west side or the east side, and you would say you live in the city and we’re here. Today, 26 years later if that story was being written today, it would be one day you will boast you live in metro Vancouver and we’re well on our way. 75% of us already do.

In 1990 when I met Dan Ulinder and we formed Ulinder Rennie Project Marketing. Dan Ulinder was a bill-, brilliant UBC professor. We very soon convinced each other we cannot make any more land in Vancouver and that two things would occur. Single-family housing would become unaffordable, and as a result condos and town homes would be our only alternative and we tried to tell anybody that would listen. Dan and I were always trying to come up with market prophecies and one that Dan and I came up and really believed in, just after we launched Ian Gillespie’s residence on Georgia on April the 6th, 1996, and our prophecy was that we believed that China would follow in the entrepreneurial footsteps of Hong Kong and, again, we tried to convince anyone that would listen. Dan was the one that convinced me to use my voice and here I am for the 13th time up in front of you, because one year I didn’t attend.

So back to Expo. What was Expo’s biggest contribution to Vancouver? One, we handed out our business card to the world and they kept it, and that saying is actually something my office has banned me from because I use it so often. The second, the Expo line – Expo ’86 got us on the transit drug. After all, Expo was a transportation fair. And my third takeaway, Expo ’86 gave us the confidence to bid for the 2010 Winter Games with an even bigger spot light on the livability of our region. Prior to Expo ’86, from 1982 to 1986, there were just over 14,000 annual permanent resident immigrants to British Columbia. Immigrants to British Columbia tripled from the Expo ’86 numbers and averaged 38,216 in 1998 through last year, 2015.

Then we looked at China. In the five years prior to Expo ’86, there were 673 immigrants to BC each year from China. That yearly average is up over 12 times. 1998 through 2015 from China to British Columbia, 8,600 immigrants each year. Prior to 1986, only 72% of immigrants to BC were to the Lower Mainland. Today 90% of immigrants to British Columbia are to the Lower Mainland. And my last Expo stat prior to Expo, 55% of immigrants were families and 27% were classified economic investor class. Today that is completely inverted. 62% economic investor class, 31% families, and of course, the remainder are refugees.

We mine for this data to help advise development, industry, planners, governments. We know that from today through to 2027, we’ll see an increase in population every year of 5,000 people in Vancouver, 39,000 in British Columbia, and 30,255 to the region, to Greater Vancouver every year to 2027. There was 23,435 births last year. Births are the second largest source of population growth for the region. So, again, we know the population pressure that’s on housing and this isn’t a maybe.

I want to see and we should all want to see the province, BC housing, somebody create a housing solution regional task force, everybody get together and each city start to admit what it can handle and what it can’t handle. The City of Vancouver cannot create any discount on affordable home ownership in any scale at a purchase price that isn’t already being offered in Surrey, Burnaby, or Coquitlam, so let’s get ahead of this. But Vancouver with it’s 24 sites and its new transit stations could supply a lot of rental and non-market. We have a metro plan for industrial. We have a metro plan for TransLink. I think it’s time that we have a metro plan for residential that’s adhered to. We need the supply. There’s way more pressure than population growth on home ownership, and I’ll get to a few in a minute.

So let’s do that little audit of my first 14 years. In 2002, Greater Vancouver’s net immigration was at the lowest point since 1990. Senator Larry Campbell was elected mayor largely due to the fact that Larry promised a referendum on whether Vancouver should actually stay in the race for the 2010 Olympic bid. This was after we were shortlisted. I thought this looked really bad on Canada. Dave Podmore was about to kick off the Yes Vote Campaign and knowing how close Dave and Jack Poole were, I called Jack and said I would launch and take the campaign and take 16 pages in the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province on my dime and that’s what’s sitting on your table right now.

The reason I put it out there is, you know, we are probably the most passive-aggressive city in the world, and we don’t like to take a stand. But that was one of those things that we try and practice, as a family in life, that I would rather be wrong for a day and right for a lifetime than the sheer sensation of how we even treat housing today where our statements are right for the day because we love it at the water cooler, but they’re wrong for a lifetime. And I just thought I’d put it out there as an example that Senator Larry Campbell is a very dear friend of mine, that he put the city at risk. He put the city at risk of a referendum and I thought it would look bad on Canada forever.

We want to trade with the world. We complain about people wanting to, wanting to live here, but we, we need trade and I just felt this was very important. So if I’m going down memory lane, I thought I would put it out there. I needed something on the other side of the data.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: So I said to them, I’ll do it my dime, no Rennie logo, no Vanoc logo, just my signature, and you cannot proofread it. You just have to trust me. Jack and Dave, they let me do it. 2002 was also the year that I decided to get up every day at 4:30 in the morning. I now get up for 7 days a week at 5:04. In 2003, the talk was titled, “I’m okay, you’re okay. Vancouver housing bubble no way.” I don’t know who approved that but …

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: … but I took so much shit for it.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: And nobody wanted to hear a positive in 2003. We tracked thresholds in 2003, we couldn’t sell a 1-bedroom over $249,000. Last year that threshold was hitting $499,000, and already this year we’re having a very difficult time finding new product in Vancouver, one-bedrooms under $599,000.

Then in 2004 Larry Beasley and I were making bold predictions that the city was going to move east, thinking we were so smart when it really had nowhere else to go. In 2004, the title of the talk, “Who’s fueling the market?” And in 2004 … so we played, um, how long has this been going on. In 2004, the song we played is “Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting.”

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: You know, and I use that as a marker that we all saw this coming. I do think we could have dealt with it a lot better. That year we also had the hot ticket – hot tickets, actually. They were lined up overnight for the launch of the first of three towers at Paul Wall’s Yaletown Park, and the hot ticket wasn’t just condos. We had 88 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. I think the Atkins diet killed Krispy Kreme, but we had to drive to Burlington, Washington, to get them because the Delta franchise, the newly opened Delta franchise refused to take a big order.

Has anybody been there since they closed?

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: If you were the 1 that bought Suite 2701, the 2-bedroom 726 square feet, at Yaletown Park for $339,000, in ’04 with possession in ’06, you would have made 129% profit. It sold recently for $779,000 after eight days on the market. If you put 25% down, $85,000, you would have made four times your money because you would have made $338,000.

In 2004, there were just under 2,000 condos completed in downtown Vancouver. In 2005, I think I swore too much in 2004, so I wasn’t invited back, and the speaker, Lance Berelowitz, was so bad they had me back in ’06.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: But the speaker, Lance Berelowitz talking about his book, “Dream City.” So note to self, you know it’s over when you write your own book. I, I …

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: (Laughs) Come on.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: But I am sure Lance would have told you that there were just under 3,000 … Let’s see, 2,000 in ’04, ’05, just under 3,000 condos completed in ’05 in downtown Vancouver, which happens to be 10 times the 294 condos that were completed in downtown Vancouver last year. In 2006, again, I do not know who allowed the title, but it was, “It takes a little more than selecting new granite for the kitchen to survive in today’s development market.” Woodward’s took up a lot of space in ’06. The marketing campaign was be bold or move to suburbia. And the big bold letters in the brochure read, “If you lived in Vancouver all of your life, you might look at Woodward’s as edgy. Yet if you lived in any other major city in the world, you would look at the area as emerging.”

Today, Woodward’s is a price victim of no inventory. If you bought a 597-square foot, one-bedroom in ’06 for 296,000, last month you would have sold it for 573,000. When Woodward’s is getting $959 per square foot, seriously, where is our affordability going to come from? What I see happening now, and I think this is a really important section, what I see happening now with existing condos is that the gap between presale condos and existing condos is finally starting to close. Used inventory has always lagged behind presale condos. The new and used gap is largely due to the fact that there is no reporting procedure or data gathering on any new housing types and presales – not from the real estate board, not from the UDI.

The consumer is always in the dark. I’ve tried to do this three times over the last 15 years to no avail. It really is time that our industry starts to address a presale sales registry. The lack of presale knowledge has used condo owners selling below market value and, worse, first-time buyers do not realize current price levels and they sit on the sidelines. And, worse again, as we have seen recently, that unscrupulous realtors are taking advantage of the consumers’ lack of knowledge.

In 2006 we started to track aging baby boomers, the ones 55 years of age and older. In 2006 we discovered they were sitting on 112,000 homes throughout metro with $66 billion in equity. And we were starting to understand that the $66 billion would play a major role fueling the market with their tax-free equity.

In 2007, we were all ramping up for the 2010 games. The Olympic Village was about to start presales, hence the title, “What is the impact of a 5-billion-dollar ad campaign?” It’s the average price of a home was $1.99 million in Vancouver. In 2007 we’re inviting the world to come back, back to a Vancouver that was still in the spotlight placed on us in 1986. In hindsight, I believe this was the beginning of an already constrained city becoming a lifestyle address more of an urban resort for downtown Vancouver for aging baby boomers and world money. I certainly didn’t realize that in ’07, the Olympic Village would become the greatest marketing challenge of my career.

In 2007 there were 3,687 condos delivered in downtown Vancouver and at delivery they were 98% sold. For 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, we will deliver 3,312 condominiums in those four years, 375 less than they did in ’07 alone. The 10,800 condos that were delivered in ’05 through ’08, supply kept the lid on pricing and kept rents down because 60% were sold to passive investors.

Let’s move on to 2008. The title in 2008, “Are we insulated from America, and more importantly, are you wearing an Olympic pin?” We’re on both topics (laughs). In 2008 Wall Center False Creek handed back 140 deposits, $200 million in presales at the Ritz Carlton, Ritz Carlton were cancelled. Vancouver … I think this is really important in the history of Vancouver that Vancouver is a very unusual Olympic city reacting to America’s financial collapse. We choked off supply and greater Vancouver did not produce the oversupply that most Olympic cities have a hangover from.

In May 2009 we were lost. This was the year that I would prefer that Lance come back because the topic was, “What is the perception of the market and the what is the reality of the market?” The market lacked confidence in ’09, totally opposite of today’s market. We were looking for that cultural moment. The market confidence that would be the right time to bring a presale to market and Aquilini’s Richard’s on Richards was the one in ’09 at 625 a foot with delivery in 2012. Today, sales are just over $900 per square foot. The support in ’09 that the market was looking for was that moment when you were at dinner with family and friends, and they support rather than criticize your decision.

In May 2010, we had the 2010 games behind us, and the Olympic Village repositioning was ahead of us. The title was, “I read the news today.” We purposely called the Olympic Village a ghost town. We wanted everybody to measure success by the litter of coffee cups in the plaza. We decided to target those baby boomers and in 2010 the baby boomer was 46 to 64 years old. Today baby boomers, many in this room, are 52 to 70 years old. Investors do not buy completed condominiums. We started to feel the impact of baby boomers selling their irreplaceable single-family homes and our 2010 warning was the wealth of this demographic is unprecedented and I do not think any of us really understand it.

In hindsight we all underestimated the aging baby boomer. We ended up at the Village with 87% owner-occupiers. They sold their west side homes and they moved to the Village. Smaller homes at the Village are up 35% to 40%. Canada House, with their larger square footages, are seeing increases in the neighborhood of 75% from the 2011 purchase.

2011 was, was the start of the pressure and demand for larger condominiums from aging baby boomers. This trajectory is very evident over at 8X, Brenhill’s Development. They turned on a dime and reduced a luxury condominium development sitting on a park at 1111 Richards and they took it from 388 homes earlier this year down to 200 homes, and my baby boomer, they’re buying at the top and their children with Ph.D.’s, parents have dough, are, are …

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: … it’s so old … are buying the lower portion. So in the future any development breaking the $1,300, $1,400, or $1,500-dollar price per square foot bracket will eliminate smaller suites definitely in the upper half of the building. I think this will, this will put pressure on rents and you’re going to see rents going up because that smaller affordable product is not going to be created as much.

By 2011 our reputation as the most expensive was becoming our brand. I believe it’s going to be very difficult to change that narrative out there about being the most expensive. The City of Vancouver may be a contender, but the region is not. In 2011 we started to separate the top 20% of sales that were for rich guys and foreign money and we were really starting to understand how all of the statistics for the City of Vancouver do not apply to the region. The way that we transpose city stats and stats for the region needs to be changed by our industry and really needs to be changed by the media. Take the sensation out of it.

In 2012, I remember like it was yesterday looking over at Penny Ballem was sitting down here and she’s actually on a plane coming home from Italy tonight. I spoke to her yesterday. If you came here to hear negatives you’re wasting your time is what we said in, in 2012. And the UDI let me have the title, “Is it really a bubble?” Again, I took a lot of flack for it. Everybody wanted the recovery to be a false start. David Baxter, I think I’m mentioning for the third time, but David Baxter is one of the smartest men I know. David kept saying to me in 2012, “Bob, when you are up there, you just tell them that they should be begging, begging developers to build.”

We were starting to understand who was fueling the housing market. Remember those baby boomers with their $66 billion from ’06 in clear title housing? By 2012, their $66 billion had ballooned 33% to $88 billion. 2012 was also the year of transit, transit, transit, which was the positioning lines and the success of Marine Gateway on the Canada line. This validated transit-oriented sites for locals and unique to transit-oriented developments, an unprecedented amount of buyers bought in an area that they knew, they understood, and they wanted to stay in their community.

33% of Marine Gateway buyers lived in the neighboring five postal codes at Wall Center, Central Park, at the Joyce Sky Train Station. 57% of the buyers live in the neighboring five postal codes, MC2 on the Canada line across from Marine Gateway. 59% of our buyers lived within 10 kilometers, the Independent at Broadway and Kingsway. 40% of the buyers live within five kilometers, and a total of 60% of the buyers live within 10 kilometers. And at Brentwood 52% of the buyers live within 10 kilometers.

MC2 and Marine Gateway sold 25% of their homes without parking. Our confidence in advising on the no-car thing comes from our research that unlike their baby boomer parents, youth does not need a car to get laid.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: So you laugh, but think about it.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: That statement was actually the cause of me being invited to speak at the Trudeau Foundation and the topic was who decides the common good. And that statement of youth doesn’t need a car to laid got me invited to speak at Canada’s discussion on transit-oriented development sites in Montreal last November. The car does not have the same social status to youth that it had to their parents.

We will continue to see small suites on transit with a lot of lifestyle at their doorstep outsell non-transit-oriented sites and watch for higher rental rates. Watch your rental rates to be higher on transit-oriented development sites. Before I go into 2013, since we were on this transit, transit, transit, why don’t I take a minute to talk about transit.

I said right from the start today there is no affordability without transit. The transit referendum failed eight days after I was here last. Transit is just like housing. With housing, if Gregor builds it, the taxpayer pays for it. If Minister Coleman and Shane Ramsey build it, the taxpayer pays for it. With transit, if the cities pay for it, the taxpayer pays for it. If the province pays for it, the taxpayer pays for it.

So another reporter called me and asked if I would comment on the proposed Cambie Canada Line Station. I think it’s Cambie and 57th or 59th … I get it mixed up … that Rossano De Cotiis says, “Omni is building in exchange for density.” I replied, “This is the way it should be done. Density at transit and the developer pays.” She replied, “But don’t you think the government should pay?” It ended up with I said, “I will do the interview if you replace the word ‘government’ with taxpayer.” Once again, no interview.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: You see a pattern. I believe that TransLink, Minister Fassbender and the mayors, I know that you will figure it out. Of course, the tensions are high. To me these are big kid decisions, decisions that will shape cities and will future-proof our cities. This is the place to put as much density and possible housing and energy centers as possible. Down Broadway if we saw 10,000 rentals homes built on transit with no parking, good thing or bad thing? You guys decide. The political risk of density is very low at transit stations because you can blame each other, so it won’t hurt your electability.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: Reset was not only the title, but was exactly what we were doing in 2013. Premier Christy Clark was 2 days on the job May 16th, 2013, when I spoke to you. Economists from around the world had us pegged for a 10% to 25% correction that never materialized. Economists were predicting pressure on interest rates that never materialized. These are the fallacies that push buyers to the sideline and alter supply all based on the assumption that the city statistics represent the region. Strathcona Village was launched in 2013, following a model that works in any city: Follow the artists and prostitutes, and I will show you the next emerging area.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: Because both have to have easy access and an accessible area and as close to an energy center as possible. So I tried this in the office, I’ll say it here. This is actually where I spent most of my research money.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: (Laughs) Actually I like that one. In 2014 it was patterns. In 2014 … it was on the art, not the prostitute, sorry.

(Laughs) In 2014 it was patterns. In 2014 just like today the consumers wanted a frictionless lifestyle. They want access to a cup of coffee, a stick of butter, and a prescription and of course on transit. In 2014 Brentwood was pioneering. Two years later preparations were underway for their fourth tower. At Brentwood II, in a survey of actual purchasers with 275 responders, at Brentwood, community and transit were tied for the number one influencers in their buying choice. It wasn’t living close to work. It was to live in an energy center and on transit.

2015 we tried to change the narrative last year. So I was on CBC this morning and I gave a lot of this data, but what I did say is if you have a no tower sign in your front lawn, you have no right to speak to your children about affordability. And I told Rick Cluff when I left …

Audience: (Applause)

Bob Rennie: And I told Rick Cluff when I left that even though that is ome of our largest constraints on supply, out of all the data I gave him, that’s what will light up. And he said, “Come and look at my screen.” It was all the the tweeting or … I don’t, I don’t have Twitter … And I said, “No,” and I left.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: But so but last year on Rick Cluff on CBC 54 weeks ago I dove in deep. I know nobody wants to hear it, but unless we’re going to take a big, broad brushstroke and add a lot of density, we’re in trouble. And then we all argued about the Chinese. How’s that working? See, nobody likes to go near these topics.

2015’s title, “Can we solve affordability without density?” We know what are the population numbers and the Millennials leaving is a myth. We have all the data, it’s pretty simple. It isn’t build it and they will come, they’re already here. If we thought we were in trouble last year on the affordability front, it’s going the wrong way this year. 2015 ended with 3,051 single-family home sales in the City of Vancouver. In 2015 there was 364 homes in Vancouver that were sold under a million dollars.

2016’s statistics will be much higher than that. The average sale in Vancouver was $1,990,000. The average single-family home sold in metro excluding Vancouver is a million dollars less [at] $990,000. Think about it. 351 sales that average 1.99 million, while 22,134 homes averaged $990,000. 26 homes sold in Vancouver last year under $750,000. 10,325 homes sold in the region last year under $750,000. This year, only 26 homes in east Vancouver in 2016 sold below a million, and there’s only been three homes sell in west of Main Street under $1.7 million dollars this year.

Last year I told you about the 28-year-old fully tattooed out hipster that sells designer clothing at Roden Gray in Gastown and how he and his common law wife bought a new home for $645,000 in Langley. All demographic profiling would have them moving into Main Street, moving into the Independent, moving up on Kingsway. Well, last Saturday I went in and I spoke to my one-man focus group …

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: … and the house across the street from him sold for $950,000, same house, in Langley. It’s a 50% increase in 18 months. Now if he bought it six months earlier, it’s a 50% increase in two years. He told me his friends are now looking in Abbotsford and beyond. I would be getting this kid and 10 of his friends in a focus group about the region and transit. He is our future.

Audience: (Applause)

Bob Rennie: So Vancouver’s new city planners are going to have to have some tough community conversations. If not there, where is what they should be asking. Affordability is going, is going to the region. Now it’s time for all of our leadership voices to stop pretending. Let’s admit there will never be a single family home in Vancouver soon under $2 million. Let’s admit that everybody that works in the city cannot live in the city or even wants to live in the city. Change the narrative to only talk about metro and the region. I think it’s the most important thing that we can all do.

And let’s stop scaring employers away. Ryan Holmes was telling me about a company that changed their mind about moving here, and I say it’s because we’re all addicted to Ferraris instead of Toyotas. We love to talk about Peter Brown’s $30.5-million-dollar sale or a $31.5 – has nothing to do with affordability. We should be talking about the 10,325 homes that sold under $750,000 in metro. Or if you really want to change the conversation tonight at dinner, 99.75% of all single-family homes that sold under $750,000 were not in Vancouver.

There were 26,500 condo sales with an average price of$ 442,000 in metro. 32% of condo sales are in the City of Vancouver and 68% are in metro and the region. It looks like the majority already choosing the region already and this is going to continue, I believe, at an exponential rate. There are so many pressures on affordability. I picked four: baby boomers, neighborhood groups, political risk, and supply. We’ve been tracking baby boomers, as I said, since 2006, in particular 55 years and older, clear title in greater Vancouver. In 2006 they had 112,000 homes. There were sitting on $66 billion as I told you. By 2011 the $66 billion, as I told you, went to $88 billion.

Well, here we are 10 years later and the 112,000 homes from 2006, well, there’s 193,000 of them now owned by 55-plus aging boomers. That’s a 72% increase in the number of clear title dwellings in 10 years. 1 in 3 homes in greater Vancouver is owned clear title by somebody over 55 years old. And the $66 billion from 2006 today is $197 billion. It’s not just the $197 billion. This is tax-free money. And what is the impact of that money when the multiplier effect of the 197 billion as it relates to helping their children, if 10 billion in wealth transfer occurs in the next few years at 25% down, that’s $40 billion in home purchasing power. You can poke holes in this all you want. There’s $197 billion there.

And then in 2027 the death rate increases from today’s 14,500 per year to 20,500 per year by 2027. I see a wealth transfer tax coming by 2020 and a huge rush to transfer wealth by the living rather than by the dead. I think that this is where the baby boomers around 2027, the baby boomers’ children and grandchildren will fuel the economy and become the consumers their baby boomer, boomer parents and grandparents were pre-September 2008. $60 billion of the $197 billion in the hands of over 75-year-olds. 1 in 11 homes in metro, in the metro region is owned clear title by somebody over 75 years old. That money’s coming at you.

55, 65, or 75 years old, this demographic is living longer and their investments did not pay off in 2008 and their major asset is their clear title home. They’re not buying a Prius because they’re green. They’re buying a Prius because they’re house poor. And as long as their irreplaceable clear title homes are liquid because we can’t make more of them, and they are the money that’s going to fuel the economy for the next 11 years. And then I won’t be working, so I don’t know.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: Actually, I don’t give a shit (laughs).

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: No, I do (laughs).

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: These are aging baby boomers that are cashing out. They’re highly liquid, and I love the word irreplaceable single-family homes in the city and throughout greater Vancouver and they’re buying down, they’re buying second homes, they’re buying recreational and they’re helping their children and grandchildren. The Royal Bank of Canada is tracking first-time buyers. 80% of the Vancouver first-time buyers are receiving family funds in Vancouver, 70% in Burnaby, and 60 per, sorry, 60% in Surrey. The $197 billion is fueling Victoria, but it’s also fueling Kelowna, Bowen Island, Whistler. They’re buying closer to their children and grandchildren in Surrey and on Main Street and they’re buying in their neighborhood of Brentwood. They’re buying in Palm Springs, Phoenix, and large square-footage condos locally. And the entry level they’re helping their children.

So neighborhood groups. Neighborhood groups seemed to have lost their way and they’re prepared to sacrifice for future generations by choking off supply and hurting affordability and supply. This is the most complex issue to me and the affordability equation. I was on a panel moderated by Steven Quinn and during the discussion I suggested that we add two floors to all C2 zonings, and this is actually Brian Jackson’s idea a couple years ago. I’m stealing it, Brian. That we add 2 floors to all C2 and on arterials, and add no parking. The additional floors could be for rental, could be for families, could be for seniors.

Then when it was time for the open mic, a lady came up and scolded me that I do not understand Dunbar. Well, I don’t. Dunbar is a community and they walk their neighborhoods. And these higher buildings, those two floors, would cause icy sidewalks because I guess she’s walking the other side of the street. I don’t know. So my contained response was, “Why don’t you come up here and say instead of two floors, Mr. Rennie, why don’t we put three townhouses in the back yard of every home in Dunbar and attract families back to the area. Maybe more like a group in Edmonton, YIMBYS, yes in my back yard.

Well, until we get to these conversations without anger we’re in trouble, and the only way this will happen is with outreach and education about populations and future generations. Maybe tear a page out of Metro Toronto’s playbook. This is what the planner there, Jen Keesmaat, did. The Toronto planning advisory committee will be a group of up to 30 citizens who will be called to advise the city’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, the Ipsos Reid survey confirmed for us that what we had expected all along. That the majority of participants and our planning process are white, male homeowners over the age of 55. Newcomers to Toronto, renters, and youth are particularly unrepresented. This is a direction that we have to go in. Maybe it’s time to bring some new stakeholders into the conversation. It is seriously time to change the narrative. Neighborhood groups require more diversity here in Vancouver, in metro, too.

Political risk. How do we keep good governments in office and at the same time create an environment where metro Vancouver’s mayor and council, mayors and counselors, can take the political risk of meaningful density and be re-elected? This gets right back to where I started. Let’s start with changing the narrative. The development industry is an important part of the supply solution. Changing the conversation developers should be invited into any regional task force along with community groups. On political risk, Darrell Mussatto. Darrell, what do they call you?

Darrell Mussatto: Density Darrell.

Bob Rennie: So they call the mayor of the City of North Vancouver Density Darrell.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: So Darrell, does creating housing and density affect your electability?

Darrell Mussatto: Yes.

Bob Rennie: Yeah, so I’m going to … see, we prepared this.

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: Doesn’t it seem so natural (laughs). What if in 2018 Darrell Mussatto in North Vancouver City, Derek Clergan in Burnaby, Greg Moore in PoCo, Lois Jackson in Delta, Richard Walton in the District of North Van, Mike Smith in West Vancouver, Gregor in Vancouver, or even Linda Heppner in Surrey, what if more than four of these city mayors and their slate of counselors decided not to run for re-election? Unless we change the narrative on affordability and the narrative on developers and the narrative on supply, we should all be very, very worried that we’re going to see election campaign promises of anti-development and anti-density unless we change the narrative and educate, we will see more and more of no tower signs, just like in Grandview Woodlands. They only add pressure to supply and for those of us who already own real estate, they increase our real estate values.

I figure that will get people going with density if they think I have a gain by it. So pressure on supply comes from many corners. Banks do not fund construction unless 60% of condos are pre-sold. Every crane is 70% to 100% sold. Olympic Villages with standing inventory without bank imposed pre-sales only get built during very, very, very fast times. If a site is acquired today by a developer, June 2nd, and requires a rezoning, aside of any size, the condos will not have a key put in their front door until 2020 or 2021.

Here are a few numbers. Burnaby and New West will complete 1,694 condos this year. They’re already 86% sold. The 1,107 completions in Coquitlam this year, they’re already 94% sold. On the supply side here is what could turn downtown into an urban lifestyle resort. Downtown, aside from the baby boomers $197 billion and the 197,000 that can’t live where they work, this might be the most important statistic today. It was very easy to create supply, downtown supply in downtown south and in the CBD. No emotionally charged residential neighbors, only office towers to complain. Low political risk.

2016 to 2019 as I told you will only deliver 3,312 condos, but they’re 90% sold already. So no supply’s coming. So we thought if, if we’re not downtown, it must be over on the west side, predominantly in the Cambie corridor. So the good news is for 2016, ’17, and ’18, they’ll be 4,500 condos delivered. They’re already 90% sold. So we thought, well, we must have supply in East Vancouver. In East Vancouver it’s the same story. 3,500 completions for ’16, ’17, and ’18 … 95% sold. This explains the pressure on land. We’re going to see a land sale over $500 … we’re already starting to see it on West Broadway over $500 per square foot, and a land sale over $500 per square foot pushes the condos to over $1,300 per square foot.

The False Creek Flats. The direction of the False Creek Flats was contemplated and has been worked on since condos were $600 a square foot on Main Street, and it was also the flats were contemplated when, because before the Premier was elected, St. Paul’s Hospital was not moving down there. With supply so limited and the pressure that we’ve been talking about and now knowing that Main and Seventh is over $900 a square foot and the Village is breaking a thousand, I believe that the new city planners biggest success or their biggest failure would be to not re-envision the Flats as a community and a neighborhood. This is where I a saying my ex-wife Mieko gave to me when we opened our first real estate office in ’88, is a man that adheres to a position previously stated when times change is a fool.

The Flats doesn’t have the neighborhood group pressure putting density into a single-family neighborhood. What if we could double the job goals with contemporary jobs and also build grocery stores, high-tech offices, theaters, and office towers and as much diversified residential as possible with zero parking? Maybe this is where the 10,000 rental apartments should go with no parking and 500 car to goes. The Flats should tear a page out of Andrew Grant and Dan Turner’s Marine Gateway playbook and then tear a page out of Peter Wall’s Strathcona Village with PDR space, 955 West Hastings, production, distribution, and retail with a density of 6.15. Wall’s PDR was really a creative test model and it worked. The condos were 100% sold out, even 17 school teachers bought, which I find fascinating during the strike. Knowing that …

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: … knowing that they would be living above production, distribution, and retail. At Strathcona Village, Walls got the jobs, they got the market housing, and 70 non-market units. So I called SadhuJohnson and let Sadhu know that I was going in this direction on the Flats, and his response was … he didn’t hang up. Sadhu actually said, “Not only there, Bob, we have to look at creative uses everywhere.” What a breath of fresh air. It made me so happy.

Audience: (Applause)

Bob Rennie: We should also tear a page out of Metro’s 20/40 study. It states very clearly the benefits of office space and jobs, less reliant on vehicles with better access and use of transit.

So we aren’t buying Surrey as fast, but we are about to. We all want instant gratification and capital appreciation and Surrey has supply. Surrey has approved or at the development permit stage, over 11,200 condominiums in Surrey city center. And this is what’s going to happen. This product is going to start to come to market as Burnaby approaches $700, $750, and $800 per square foot, and central Coquitlam is already breaking $600 per square foot. Surrey has transit and it will approach $550 and break the $550-dollar-per-square-foot barrier, and those 11,000 condos will start to make economic sense to this room and this is where the affordability is. Surrey like Woodward’s is a rapidly changing area and you know where the affordability is in the region. It’s in Burnaby at 50 cents on the dollar to downtown Vancouver. It’s in Coquitlam at 40 cents on the dollar to downtown Vancouver. And it’s in Surrey at 30% to 35% of Vancouver prices.

So as I went through this exercise, the City of Vancouver should get out of the affordable home ownership business because the City of Vancouver cannot offer a discount that will bring housing in at less cost than what is already available in the region, and leave that to their partners, the province, BC housing, even the feds. The City of Vancouver, other than rental, our tax dollar should be used to work from the bottom up and let’s solve that downtown east side.

I decided for my last talk to uncover any data that can be addressed to change the conversation and ease pressure on affordability. Looking at the impact of how provincial, civic, and federal taxes impact affordability, we hired the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to audit three developments in the city and audit every tax that possibly impacts a development. There are 107 taxes on a new 403,809-dollar condo. There is 37% in taxes on a 403,809-dollar condo that’s sold in 2014. That 37% is 109,000. The Rennie Report is available online at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. I believe the guys are here today.

And, yes, we are strange bed fellows. They’re the ones that defeated the transit referendum, but maybe it was how the transit referendum was presented. I don’t want to sensationalize this. I’m well aware that it would be virtually impossible to eliminate every tax; however, if we’re going to change the narrative, we all need to work from the facts. We are in the best financial shape of any province in Canada. I worry that when our bellies are full and our wallets are full that we might become irresponsible … we just become very …. sort of malaise kicks in. But I think we have to make sure that we have government that did solve jobs and economy back in.

So what if our premier and all of the mayors went for lunch and Vince Ready negotiated a cooling-off white paper? With current home ownership in greater Vancouver at 66%, what if they could get prices back to 2012 levels from today’s? So what are the consequences to these imaginary conversations?

In 2012 in greater Vancouver the home average was $646,500 for condos and detached, 20% lower than 2015. So that would be a reduction of $153,000 on all 657,000 homes. So that is $100 billion in tax-free equity gone and that would be a $100-billion-dollar reduction in property tax assessments. And you know what? There would be no reduction in demand and no increase in supply.

So I have two things to close with. Something that a friend sent to me. I’ll read it in a minute. I’ll read my second first. My second is 70-year-old neighbor, Mrs. Chin, when I was growing up, Mrs. Chin lived on the east side of our house and I was sitting on the front steps. And I would have been probably 8 or 9 years old. And I remember it was shortly after their son, Raymond Chin, moved to British properties. Raymond was Chinese and up until 1962, Asians, blacks, and Jews were prohibited from living in the British properties. Even that young I thought if they didn’t’ want you before, why would you go there? Maybe that’s why I collect the type of art I do that Norm was talking about.

So sitting on the front steps I watched Mrs. Chin walk past my house carrying three large bags of Cheezies wrapped in a towel. Mrs. Chin proceeded to walk up the front stairs of our new neighbors to the west, and Mrs. Chin was welcoming our new neighbors. And then I remember asking my mom saying, “Why don’t we give them Cheezies?” And she said, “Your dad’s a drunk.” (laughs)

Audience: (Laughing)

Bob Rennie: I’m done, thank you.

Audience: (Laughing, applause)

Bob Rennie: Buy more Cheezies.

One thought on “For the record: Bob Rennie’s 2016 address to development industry (UDI) 2-June-2016

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