More evidence, if any is still needed, that the move to replace detached houses with townhouses is a development play that has nothing to do with providing affordable housing. This is from Jak King, a blogger in Grandview.

I live on Adanac hill in the same block as the WISE Hall.  The north side of the street running up to Victoria used to have several crumbling old Edwardian houses that were full of very cheap rental units. They have all been  demolished over the last few years and replaced with townhouses.

You may recall that townhouses are supposed to be one of the cheap alternative to single family houses, and the Planning department are pushing them more and more into Grandview (see the recent Open House) as a solution to the housing affordability problem.

The townhouse development right next door to my building has just been completed and I happened to see one of the townhouses advertised in a real estate office this morning:


Let’s step back a moment and remember that the median family income in Vancouver is roughly $75,000 a year.  Therefore, a normal family in Vancouver can never possibly afford this townhouse which, with a 30% down payment, requires an income double what most earn.

The minimum down payment is $265,600. No family can possibly save that much in 20 years on a median income in Vancouver. But let’s assume — as the build-at-any-cost crowd do — that the purchasers have boomer parents able and willing to assist with the down payment. It still doesn’t work.

The annual mortgage payment is $56,652 which is more than the entirety of their take home pay after tax and deductions.