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A weekly roundup of news and views on property development, sales, affordability and more

Vancouver home prices will drop 10 per cent by the end of 2018, according to a TD Economics forecast released Monday. July was the third consecutive month of fewer housing sales across Canada, although the national average price increased 9.9 per cent year-over-year. The biggest decline in home sales occurred in Vancouver, where sales dropped 18 per cent compared to a year ago and nearly 28 per cent from February. "While the decline in sales activity so far this year may partly reflect a lack of supply, the new 15 per cent land transfer tax on foreign buyers is likely to reinforce the downturn already underway," says TD economist Diana Petramala. (CTV)

Pension funds are cashing out of Burnaby office properties. As prices for work space soar amid an influx of offshore capital, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan is selling Willingdon Park, while Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate investing arm of Caisse de dépot et placement du Quebec, Canada’s second-largest pension manager, is said to be selling its remaining stake in the three-tower Metrotower office complex. (Bloomberg)

The housing debate shows the erosion of nation-states like Canada, writes Vancouver Sun columnist Douglas Todd. While some slam the B.C. government’s new 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers as counter to a free-market economy, it is one way to protect those who already live and work in Canada. The nation-state remains the key structure through which a people can create a democratic community to protect the common good of its citizens. (Vancouver Sun/paywall)

The single family home is part of the problem. A UBC sociology professor says single family homes are bad for the environment, urban vitality, people's health and even democracy, as they discourage us from getting out and seeing people who are different from ourselves, something we should be encouraging in a multicultural society like Canada. Densification is the way to increase the livability and vitality of Vancouver. (CBC)

Let the rental games begin. A new Vancouver-based company says it aims to lessen the headache of finding rental accommodation in the city’s hot housing market, but renters’ advocates are blasting it as more bad news for tenants. Biddwell allows prospective tenants to review online postings and submit a “sealed offer” on a unit, similar to a bid at a silent auction. Opponents say it will simply make renters compete in a form of a bidding war. (Globe and Mail)