The Globe and Mail’s latest claim to have uncovered a Vancouver real-estate scandal managed not only to create the usual policy flaps within B.C.’s snake pit of coiled housing regulators, it also dragged out an all-too-familiar explanation for rising housing prices in the city. Under a headline that claimed “Flipping of condo units by insiders fuels hot Vancouver market,” the Globe this week reported that Vancouver condo speculators were “sucking up supply, further driving up prices.”
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Sucking up supply? Maybe the flipping speculators were vacuuming up Vancouver condos and shipping them off to China. Or perhaps the condos were moved to a special speculators’ underground industrial holding tank under the False Creek Flats.
Blaming speculators is a standard bit of pop economics that gets recycled whenever the price of something — from oil to coffee to housing — goes up more than people would like or think it should.