Business & Economy
February 19, 2019

Foreign Property Investment for Visas Displacing Locals in Athens

Imagine you are in a country that is looking to increase investment in a floundering real estate market. Even though real estate prices are now at 40 percent from their peak, Greece has not recovered from the 2009 debt crisis, and is offering  visas to non-European Union citizens when they invest 250,000 Euros in real estate. This is cheaper than Portugal’s offer of a visa which requires twice the investment of at least 500,000 Euros. Those prices translate to 374,000 Canadian dollars in real estate in Greece to obtain a visa, and 748,000 Canadian dollars  to get a visa in Portugal.

There are three direct flights a week from China to Greece, and for those Chinese investors in Athens real estate their buying power enables them to purchase two properties for the price of one in Portugal. Despite curbs on the exporting of currency from China,  Chinese investment has continued in Greece, along with Russian and Turkish real estate investment.

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From Michael Alexander:

First sunny day above freezing, and the newish playground next to Science World is packed as usual, with long lines for every ride including the zip line.

If the city charged $1 a kid (“C’mon Mom, it’s only a loonie!), in a year we could build enough affordable housing to meet demand*.



* Ed – First rule of affordable housing: demand is never met.


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Addressing the popular myth that people migrate to warmer places to be homeless, this article in the Los Angeles Times  by Gale Holland outlines that five homeless individuals died from causes that included hypothermia in Los Angeles last year.

By comparison, two homeless people in New York City and two in San Francisco died of hypothermia in the same period.

“Hypothermia has led to more deaths in L.A. than in colder regions because 39,000 homeless people here live outdoors — by far the most of any metropolitan area in the country. L.A.’s generally moderate Mediterranean climate is no shield, because hypothermia can set in at temperatures as high as 50 degrees, experts say.”

A 2007 report from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council suggests that going without a hat can “drain up to half of a person’s body heat, and wet clothing can intensify heat loss twentyfold.” 

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Michael Alexander adds to the post below on Seattle:

We really should pay more attention to local government in San Francisco; they’re dealing with so many of the same issuesAnd they have a city council structure which many would cringe at as a replacement.

San Francisco is almost exactly our size (47 square miles vs. our 44.4 sq. mi). Since 1996, its governing 11- member Board of Supervisions has been elected by district. (The Mayor is elected separately, at large.)

Today, San Francisco has some of the highest rental prices in North America, though they’re down a bit from two years ago. According to the rental site Zumper, the median cost for a one-bedroom apartment (in Canadian dollars) is $4,480!

Here’s the median cost for one bedroom by district, in U.S. dollars (add 30% to get Vancouver equivalents). Note that most of the outlying areas are almost exclusively single family.

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On the latest episode of the This is Vancolour podcast, Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle and Squamish First Nation Councillor Khelsilem chat with host Mo Amir and dive deep into the issues affecting our region.

And it’s no surprise that housing and affordability remain the most important issue of the day. In this episode, both councillors offer solutions on how the City can build more housing while meeting the objective of making Vancouver more affordable.

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For all of Vancouver’s history, one thing has been invariably true: we prize our public spaces, our parks and waterfront especially, and we’re prepared to pay well for them.

A recent council motion in December – one of many made by the new council on its first budget – seemed to suggest that funding direction might be changing. Less money for urban improvements, more for affordable housing.

In April, 2016, the previous Council approved the closure of 800 Robson Street to motor vehicle traffic to fulfil the original vision of Arthur Erickson: a permanent public plaza, a seamless part of Robson Square from Art Gallery to Court House.

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As Vancouver and Seattle engage in discussion about new forms of housing in what were once single-family housing zones, other cities are already deep in the debate or have already taken action.  Like Minneapolis:

From Strong Towns:

Minneapolis just took a huge step toward becoming a stronger city by passing an ambitious new housing reform … allowing every neighborhood to evolve gradually to the next increment of development.

Duplexes and triplexes will now be allowed in every neighborhood citywide, most of which were formerly reserved for nothing but single-family houses.

Debate is happening at the legislative level in Oregon and California, as you might expect, but here’s a place where you wouldn’t: Grand Rapids:

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