AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS BASED ON PURE UNADULTERATED GREED OF FORCING SINGLES AND POOR FAMILIES TO PAY MORE FOR HOUSING
(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)
This blog has published several posts on affordable housing and psychological impact (housing). How can we not talk about it yet again? This post shows how much of the housing crisis is based on pure greed and the greedy appear to have no shame. They do not seem to care that housing is a basic human right (as determined internationally in the “Universal International Declaration of Human Rights” and “International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”) and is one of the principles of Maslow’s Hierarchy of need. There also appears to be no shame that singles are more likely to have to pay more per square foot for their housing purchase or rent than for any other member of the family unit. Poor families are less able to purchase detached housing so are forced to purchase or rent condos or apartments, many of which are not ideally suited to families. Besides purchase or rent (rent-or-own), what other options are there except to sleep in vehicles, couch-surf or live in homeless shelters?
The Calgary Herald May 8, 2017 article “Nobody’s Home” by Garry Marr further magnifies the plight of the housing industry in Canada much of which appears to be totally based on greed. The article states that in Toronto ‘some believe vacant homes exist on a widespread basis, bought up by a stream of investors so consumed by speculation – or just a safe place to park their money – that they can’t even bother to rent out their properties in markets where the going rate can easily top $3 per square foot…..data seems to indicate there were as ‘many as 66,000 vacant units in Toronto in 2016. That’s equivalent to 5.6 per cent of the city’s total stock of 1.2 million private dwelling units’. If one calculates this based on a family of four one could guess that this means about 16,500 families are missing out on Toronto housing. But wait, the article goes on to say that of the empty homes, 90 per cent were condos or apartments. If one assumes that condos and apartments are more likely to be bought/rented by singles and poor families, then this would mean singles and poor families are more likely to be hurt by the empty units and Toronto housing crises. Just what are cities and towns and developers going to do with the fact that singles and poor families are the biggest losers in Canada’s housing crises?
How do speculators manage to purchase housing with, for example, $20,000 down payment, $1,200 mortgage payment and $200 house taxes per month and keep the place empty while maintaining another residence to live in (they have to live somewhere)? These people must be very wealthy and quite greedy to not care about those at the bottom of the property ladder?
Maclean’s Magazine May, 2017 article ‘Through the Roof’ by Joe Castaldo (archive.macleans) shows landlord greed when rent is doubled from $1,200 to $2,400 for a one bedroom apartment in the Toronto’s The Bridge Condo. Sales for The Bridge condo complex (the-bridge) over last 12 months shows smallest one bedroom 449 sq. ft.condos sold for $224,000 or $498 per sq. ft.; sales price of average size one bedroom 521 sq. ft was $313,104 or $600 per sq. ft, and largest one bedroom 569 sq. ft. was $405,500 or $711 per sq. ft. Two bedroom plus den 740 sq.ft. condos sold for $360,000 or $486 per sq. ft. (figures do not include parking and storage fees). The largest two bedrooms plus den condos sold for basically same price per square foot as the smallest one bedroom condos. The pure unadulterated greed continues to force singles who are more likely to own/rent one bedroom condos to pay more per square foot for the smallest spaces with ripple effect of them paying more house taxes, mortgage interest and real estate fees on less space and more likely less income and biggest lifetime expense (upside-down-housing).
Singles are told to ‘go live with someone’ if they are having housing problems. So, in this case, what are singles to do except ‘couch surf’/share one bedroom with someone they may not know well? Renters also are likely forced to move every few years when landlords do renovations and/or raise rent on their dwellings.
Story of single mother with son – son still lives at home, mother helped him purchase a dwelling which he rents out because he would like to financially get ahead. Moral of this story, single mother likely has jeopardized her ability to save for retirement by helping her son especially if the housing market crashes and both her and her son are left having to pay mortgage worth more than the house. Because this is her child, she has done this out of love for her son. As most parents seem to do when their kids are still living at home, he is likely not paying her anything for rent or food. Juxtaposition is that son is renting out this dwelling at market value to some Joe Shmoe who cannot afford to buy something, but has to rent. To the mother and the son, they don’t see this person(s) as the child of someone else (part of the family unit), so it is okay to ‘sucker punch’ this person(s) with rent at or above market value. Greed begets greed and greed trumps family values.
Financial Post April 28, 2017 ‘LePage warns of housing ‘market whiplash’ article by Garry Marr (market) states ‘concerns that government is going to slap more rules on the housing market, particularly aimed at Toronto’s residential section, appear to be growing among the real estate industry. Royal LePage joined the chorus of those advising that Ottawa and its provincial counterparts should tread cautiously before considering everything from rent control to a tax on foreign investors. “An unfortunate side-effect of heavy-handed government regulatory intervention is that we risk whiplash,” Phil Soper, chief executive and president of LePage, said in a statement.’…..Data from the Toronto Real Estate Board this month showed prices in Canada’s largest city were up 33 per cent in March from a year ago.’ (The inaction by politicians, developers and real estate companies will only worsen the housing crisis).
Los Angeles Daily News May 13, 2017 ‘Amid state housing crisis, why 2 out of 5 millennials still live at home’ article by Matt Levin (why-2-out-of-5-millennials-still-live-at-home) articulates ‘State lawmakers have introduced more than 130 bills this legislative session to try to solve California’s housing affordability crisis, proposing everything from 150 square-foot apartments to a $3 billion affordable housing bond.’ (Oh yes, that is what single millennials deserve – to live in 150 square feet that includes kitchen, bedroom and bathroom all in one space which is the equivalent to the size of the bedroom that person lived in as a child)…..Nearly a decade removed from the depths of the Great Recession, a staggering 38 percent of California’s 18 to 34-year-olds still live with their parents, according to U.S. Census data. That’s roughly 3.6 million people stuck at home. Think of it this way: If “unlaunched” California millennials formed their own state, they would be entitled to more electoral votes than Connecticut, Iowa or Utah. If they formed their own city, it would be the third largest in the country’. (The rest of the article is a very good read on why millennials are being forced to live at home with their parents including low wages).
There is appears to be no willingness in Canada on the part of politicians, developers, real estate companies and families to deal with the housing crisis except to apply band-aid solutions or to take no action at all. How many more times can it be said that until housing greed is resolved by taking ethical and moral responsibility and until the minimum wage is changed to an indexed living wage, the housing crisis will continue to worsen?
(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles. It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)