International housing experts address affordability in Vancouver

Plus, the feds should spend billions on affordable housing, B.C. property prices may finally drop, most U.S. home buyers are not who you'd expect and Nigerian kids play the property market

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

This week 500 experts gather in Vancouver to explore ways to increase housing affordability in cities around the world. The Re:address housing conference is based on the idea that rapidly increasing housing prices in cities like Vancouver, New York, London, San Francisco and Sydney make it increasingly difficult for residents to find safe, affordable housing. In Vancouver, homelessness is at a 10-year high despite a promise from Mayor Gregor Robertson to end street homelessness by 2015. (CBC)

The federal government should spend $12.7 billion on affordable housing over the next eight years, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The request reinforces similar demands from the big-city mayors made earlier in October. Federal Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has said that the government plans to invest heavily to ease the housing crunch but has also warned it may not be as much as everyone hopes. (CTV)

B.C house prices may be headed for a fall. Real estate prices in the Vancouver region have gone up too much too quickly, creating conditions ripe for sharp declines, according to Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank of Canada. The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, which tracks overall change in price for various housing types, last month reached a record 249.53 (meaning prices have climbed almost 150 per cent since June 2005) in the region but could fall 10 per cent over a 12-month period, he said. For all housing types, that would bring the broad index back to where it was in April. (The Globe and Mail)

Guess who’s driving the U.S. housing market? Millennials are apparently poised to take a bigger share of the U.S. property sales. Half of U.S. homebuyers are under 36, reports housing marketer Zillow, and first-time buyers account for 47 per cent of purchases. (Bloomberg)

Nigerian kids play the property market—with Monopoly. The Lagos State Sports Commission, which has named Monopoly an officially recognized sport, organized a tournament aiming to break the world record for simultaneous players of the game and to teach children strategies for saving and investing. “Real estate is an asset class that everyone should aspire to have,” said Nimi Akinkugbe, chief executive of Bestman Games, which distributes the Lagos version of Monopoly and helped organize the tournament. (The New York Times)