Thursday, 8 September 2016

Vancouver examples

Bottom line: it's too early to tell what effect Vancouver's tax on foreign buyers has had.

Second bottom line goes to the University of Victoria's* Lindsay Tedds:
A snippet from my piece at The Spinoff this morning on it:
If you followed reporting on it in New Zealand, you could be forgiven for having reckoned that Vancouver’s tax on foreign buyers has solved its housing affordability problem. Vancouver implemented a tax on foreign buyers in August; sales then dropped 23%. And some realtors report substantial drops in what they viewed as speculative demand – less heat at auctions, and fewer rushed purchases.

Does that mean the tax worked? It is far too early to tell, and anybody claiming otherwise may be trying to sell you something.

While sales dropped 23% in August, July’s sales were down 27% from June’s. And this wasn’t simply a seasonal effect in mid-summer: July’s sales were down 19% on the year prior, according to the Globe and Mail.

So what’s going on?
Catch the rest over there....

* The University of Victoria is in British Columbia, in the provincial capital city of Victoria, just across the strait from Vancouver. It is not, and has no particular relationship to, Victoria University of Wellington.

On that one, if whoever named Victoria University of Wellington had a whit of consideration for future Canadians moving to New Zealand, they'd have just called it The University of Wellington. Not "Victoria University of Wellington".

Further on that one, is the university's name confusing to anybody else? It feels like it's supposed to be Victoria: University of Wellington, like the University's real name is Victoria, with University of Wellington as a kind of a second name.

NZ's Victoria University of Wellington was established as Victoria College in 1897, then Canada's Victoria College opened up in Victoria in 1903, later becoming the University of Victoria. A 1933 Act renamed Wellington's Victoria College as "Victoria University of Wellington". Maybe the "of Wellington" was tacked on to avoid confusion because there were two Victoria Colleges floating around for a while.

Whatever the history, it always reads like it's the Wellington branch campus of some other University called Victoria. Like how the University of California has The University of California at Los Angeles, The University of California at Long Beach, and The University of California at Davis (and so on), or how New York has the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the State University of New York at Albany (and so on).

For my first decade here, I called it Victoria University at Wellington instead of "of Wellington". The name ordering is just jarring. Like saying "The hairy brown big dog" instead of "The big brown hairy dog." It's just one of those rules, and whoever came up with "Victoria University of Wellington" done went and broke it. But changing all the stationary now would be expensive, and nobody ever wants to fess up to this kind of thing having been a bit of a mistake for getting close to a century and in need of a tweak. Like the snitch in quidditch. It just lingers.

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