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Does solving B.C.'s housing crisis mean home values need to come down? Premier weighs in

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After touring a low-income housing project in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on Thursday, Premier Eby set out what he thinks will matter most to voters this October.

“The election question will be: Who is best positioned to address this housing crisis?” he said.

The housing crunch has become so dire, even many homeowners now say they'd support a dip in prices.

In a Nanos Research poll last September, 70 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would be happy or somewhat happy if housing prices went down.

It’s a delicate balance for politicians, who risk either rankling homeowners – many of whom are depending on their properties as their primary retirement nest egg – or upsetting would-be buyers wanting into the market, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did when he told the Globe and Mail las month that houses should retain their value.

“One way to get affordability is to get lower house prices," said Steve Saretsky, a Vancouver Realtor. "But that doesn’t sell politically, and so they’re trying to, I think, ride two horses with one butt, so to speak."

Asked flat out Thursday by CTV News whether he wants house prices to go down, Eby indicated he did – while maintaining there would be opportunities for homeowners to make a profit under new rules allowing for multiple units on single lots.

“I hope for a soft landing, a gentle landing in housing prices in the market," the premier responded. "I think market housing prices are unaffordable for British Columbians."

The NDP has staked much of its chances in the next election on persuading the public – especially young voters and their parents – that its efforts to cool the market will work. 

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