‘Release Crown land for housing’ says land agent
November 19, 2021
Land agent Freddy Marks. | Submitted
A veteran land agent in British Columbia argues the solution to Canada’s housing shortage and subsequent home price increases is to release more government-owned land for residential development.
The average composite home price in Canada is now $686,000, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. This price is up 13 per cent from 2020 and is about 11 times the average income of a full-time worker in Canada.
Freddy Marks, president of Fraser Valley-based 3A Group Nyda Realty, noted that just a fraction of government land holdings could provide a foundation for more affordable housing.
“Governments at all levels make staggering amounts of money off the real estate market every year. Yet it cannot provide legislation to curb overheated price growth, or build low income and affordable housing developments to keep up with population growth,” Marks noted.
He explained that 89 per cent of Canada's land area is Crown land; 41 per cent federal, 48 per cent is provincial.
“Only 11 per cent of the entire Canadian land mass is private land, and this tiny portion is what we all reside on. The demand for more residential land outweighed supply years ago,” he stated.
By releasing specified parcels, say 2 per cent to 4 per cent of existing Crown land holdings into the private land pool, the market would have a large, immediate influx of inventory to gain balance. Construction could begin right away on affordable homes for everyone that is in need, Marks shared.
Marks believes this solution is worth consideration and needs to be openly discussed. The released Crown land could be earmarked with the designation of AHL, or Affordable Housing Land.
According to Marks, “These considerations are necessary to ensure that all Canadians have the opportunity to affordable housing now, and our grandchildren will have the same opportunity.”