Letter: Langley’s lost generation of homeowners

Editor: We saw in an article published in the Times on Jan. 3, explaining that condo values across Langley have increased dramatically. It wasn’t only condos, either — almost every type of home has had its assessed value increase.

This means a few things: One, it means overall the economy is doing well;

Two, it means those people who currently own a condo, a detached home, or a townhouse will more than likely see their property taxes go up;

Three, it means that it is continuing to become more difficult for young people to buy a home in Langley.

Granted, there is a good side — increased property taxes mean more services (we hope) and existing homeowner’s net worth is increasing at never before seen rates (assuming they are not re-leveraging their assets). This is good news, and should be celebrated.

However, for those of us who are either currently or will shortly be searching for a place to buy and call home, things have become even more difficult.

Vacancy rates of all kinds of housing are exceedingly low in Metro Vancouver, and without adequate supply this won’t be changing anytime soon.

In order for Langley (Township and City) to ensure that it has the population to justify building the transit we desperately need, to remain the type of town where people who want the best for their family can afford to live, and for it to remain a vibrant, welcoming place to call home, we need to increase the supply of affordable homes.

In a recent Financial Post article, Diane Francis suggested banning foreign home ownership like they have recently done in New Zealand.

Tom Davidoff, a Real Estate professor at UBC has suggested raising property taxes while reducing income and sales taxes as a way to combat the rising tide of home prices. The Fraser Institute released a recent study showing that Metro Vancouver could increase its density levels to help with the affordability crisis.

Whatever the answer is, it needs to be done responsibly and it needs to be done soon – or else a generation of people who have grown up in Langley will have to look elsewhere. That would be a sad day.

Michael Pratt,

Murrayville

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