I’ve seen a lot of Twitter feeds about Chinese money laundering and immigration, possible culprits to Vancouver housing crisis. But I want to challenge these thoughts: if we don’t talk about Chinese and immigrants, would we still be able to solve housing problems?
Some people hold the thought that all of the housing crisis has been caused, singularly, by Chinese people. Not even immigrants. Some others tend to agree that wealthy immigrants worsened housing market. As I’ve discussed in another post, foreign money is a very complex data matter, though we still can consider foreign money as a enzyme to the entire housing chemistry, at least. Nevertheless, discriminating an entire ethnic group for our own housing misery is too widely stretched, which then creates more hate speech than actually solve any problem.
So, can we stop criminalizing Chinese and immigrants, wealthy or not, for our housing crisis? Probably not, as long as no research or data suggests otherwise. Therefore, academia needs to focus more on why immigration and foreign money have become causes to housing problems, rather than finding more whats and hows. For example, we know increase in immigrants will definitely push up housing prices, but to what extent? If we had enough affordable housing stock, would we have these problems? Also, if we didn’t exempt 100% capital gains tax from the principal residence, would we have excessively high housing prices? Probably not. So why do we blame immigrants and Chinese? Because they are new and easy to lay blames on?
Often we see comments like this on the internet, regarding Chinese immigrants or investors:
This was from Frances Bula’s article on the Globe and Mail; sure, if they had never come to this country, perhaps there wouldn’t be any criticism like this. But what would Canada or Vancouver be if that had happened? Better off? Young people may still go to the States or other countries for opportunities, and then we blame whom else? Governments.