Are Vancouver’s privately owned buildings earthquake-safe?

Plus, B.C.'s foreign buyer tax is working, and Whistler's housing shortage is increasing

Credit: Kenny Park

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Vancouver’s older privately owned buildings are at risk of collapsing or being badly damaged in an earthquake, but the City of Vancouver has failed to develop a plan for seismic upgrades, according to Postmedia News. A 1994 report says 60 per cent of Vancouver’s buildings were constructed before building codes set seismic safety standards. Apart from bylaw triggers that require seismic upgrades for renovations, there are no bylaws in Vancouver or any other B.C. community requiring building owners to seismically upgrade older buildings—unlike in L.A., where landlords and renters share the cost of retrofitting via rent increases up to $38 per month spread over a 10-year period. (The Province)

B.C.’s foreign buyer tax is working. On Friday, new data released by the Finance Ministry showed that between August and September, foreign investment in residential real estate accounted for less than 1.3 per cent of all the properties sold in Metro Vancouver. Between August 2 and September 30, only 152 homes were purchased by foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver, less than the provincial average of 1.7 per cent during the same period. Between June 10 and July 14, 9.7 per cent of residential property transfer transactions in Metro Vancouver involved foreign nationals, representing 10 per cent of total investment. (CBC)

Whistler has lots of jobs but not enough homes for workers. The housing crisis is partly the result of a booming economy, creating more jobs and people moving there for work, reports Kerry Gold. Rental property is also scarcer thanks to Lower Mainland residents cashing out and moving into their secondary Whistler properties year-round, along with short-term rental services like Airbnb removing rental units from the market. Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden has formed a task force to meet on November 7. (The Globe and Mail)