Condos for luxury cars raise eyebrows amid Metro Van housing crunch
Published Thursday, September 14, 2017 5:11PM PDT Last Updated Thursday, September 14, 2017 7:02PM PDT
A gated condominium complex designed for storing luxury cars is a prime example of the growing gap between haves and have-nots in Metro Vancouver, housing advocates say.
Condos at the Trove Club development in Richmond start at $600,000 and range in size from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet. The customizable units can contain couches, kitchenettes, bars and pool tables, but they're not for housing people – just cars.
"It's a community of like-minded individuals with a passion for cars and a luxurious way to savour the benefits of owning a supercar," Trove says in its promotional materials.
Developer Hungerford Properties would not tell CTV News how much owners might have to pay in monthly fees. The Trove website, which is available in both English and Chinese, indicates 80 per cent of the 45 units are already reserved.
While the luxury car condos are surely appealing to some of the super-rich, not everyone is impressed. With many middle-class families struggling to afford adequate housing in Metro Vancouver, advocates hope the project will serve as a call to action for elected officials.
"In a region where half of British Columbians live and $500,000 actually won't buy you enough bedrooms for a couple of kids, it's frightening to see," said Paul Kershaw, a UBC professor and founder of Generation Squeeze.
Kershaw believes new measures to address housing affordability, such as regulations designed to discourage speculation, are long overdue in the province. Census data released Wednesday reveals the median household income in B.C. is just under $70,000, while Royal LePage pegs the average sale price of Vancouver homes at $1.38 million.
"We need to build a real estate market that's about homes first and investments second. And that means we need to change policy to reduce harmful demand," Kershaw said.
"The region that so many of us love is increasingly become unsustainable, socially and economically, because our public policy decisions are allowing home prices to leave behind the earnings for what typical hardworking educated folks can make."
Some of those policies were part of the new NDP government's election platform, which included measures to close tax loopholes for speculators and introduce taxes on owners who leave their homes vacant. But none of the policies have yet been implemented, and Kershaw said more needs to be done at the municipal level as well.
"All of us, our planners and our citizens, need to double down on our commitment to make this region affordable for folks that grew up here and want to stay," he said.
"We need to ask all of us to look around our neighbourhoods and imagine how might they change to add more density, add more units that can price our kids and grandkids back into the neighbourhoods where they grew up."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos