A Realtor's Solution For Creating Affordalble Housing

<p>An influential Vancouver Realtor has proposed a density bonus scheme that he says would get developers to provide more housing affordable to first-time buyers.</p>
May 15, 2008, 1pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Bob Rennie, one of Vancouver's most influential realtors, says he's got a solution to the housing squeeze on families and first-time home buyers.

"It's simple, simple, simple," said Rennie. "It has to be so simple that the developer would be crazy not to do it."

With housing affordability gone in the Lower Mainland, Rennie says it's time industry, government and would-be homeowners come together to tackle the issue.

To help homebuyers latch onto the property ladder, Rennie says city officials need to grant extra density to developers on new projects.

In return, the developer reduces the profit on those extra units to just 10 per cent -- a figure Rennie calls "ridiculously low."

Costs can be further reduced if interior finishes are done to an "Ikea level" rather than high-end granite and stainless steel.

By doing all of that, the price tag can be substantially reduced, by possibly as much as 25 per cent, Rennie estimates.

"I can't put the developer in the social housing business or the middle-market business," said Rennie. [but] by allowing developers to make a 10-per-cent profit on bonus units, everyone wins, says Rennie."

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Published on Thursday, May 15, 2008 in The Province
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