Construction for the first of the two towers going up between Johnson and Yates streets near Vancouver Street is well underway. One reader uses the 989 project to illustrate how new buildings cater to more affluent buyers and renters. Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria building developers cater to upper-end renters, buyers

City’s moderate wage earners being shut out of housing market

Re: ‘Vancouver-esque’ 989 climbs downtown skyline (News, Aug. 25)

Does Victoria need more “Vancouver-esque” vanity housing projects?

The twin-tower Harris Green condo project ($75-million, Cox Development) reveals that Victoria caters predominantly to projects which target high-income locals, Lower Mainland and Alberta retirees and/or other investors.

Victoria sheds its well-worn, sleepy, colonial-outpost image for a makeover. Politicians, planners and developers are transforming the City into a privileged paradise – pitched as a high-security, segregated, ‘Disneyfied’ theme-park for multi-million dollar mega-yacht owners, a Mecca for commercial Airbnb operators and a popular seasonal pied-a-terre.

Airbnb rentals in Victoria (1,143 listings) exceed the currently available long-term rental units (205 on Craigslist).

The cheapest rental unit (bachelor) in a Cox building will be $1,100, equivalent to the median rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Victoria (August 2017 Padmapper, Canadian Rent Report). Cox condos do not resolve the critical need for affordable, accessible housing to benefit 60 per cent of the City’s households – tenants who now spend more than 30 per cent of their monthly expenses on rent.

When tenants are evicted in favour of tourists, and when housing is a commodity/investment rather than shelter, the precarious housing and labour market will only be exacerbated. And, only a chosen few in Victoria will “find a place to call home.”

Victoria Adams

Victoria

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