This year the B.C. Chamber of Commerce will advocate for data collection that will show whether foreign investors are driving housing market trends, thanks to a policy brought forward by the Sechelt and District Chamber of Commerce.
The Sechelt Chamber’s policy, titled “Real Estate, Citizenship and Residency Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting-,” calls on the B.C. government to demand a full provincial study that would collect and analyze citizenship and residency data on all real estate in B.C. and publicly release the results.
Sechelt Chamber president Kim Darwin said the data collection would be similar to what’s done in other parts of the world.
“The U.S. calls theirs ‘A Profile of International Home Buying,’ which is a report that’s produced by their national association of realtors,” Darwin said.
“Essentially that’s what I would like in Canada except that we have a different land titles system almost in every province, so I basically just started off with British Columbia.”
Darwin said the main reason the Chamber wants the facts and data is so it can then help implement solutions to what she terms a “housing affordability crisis.”
“Understanding the real causes of the housing affordability crisis is totally essential to getting the policy prescriptions right,” Darwin said.
She said the “crazy housing market” on the Sunshine Coast (with cash sales and bidding wars) is having seriously negative effects on some of the employers the Chamber represents.
“From a Chamber perspective, one of the biggest issues with what is happening with the housing affordability crisis is that a lot of employers now are finding it difficult to find employees here on the Sunshine Coast … because employers can’t afford to pay the wages that can keep up with the rising cost of housing,” Darwin said.
The adoption of the Sechelt Chamber’s policy by the B.C. Chamber will essentially make it part of the provincial Chamber’s advocacy agenda this year.
In addition to the Sechelt Chamber’s policy, two other housing-related policies were adopted at the B.C. Chamber AGM.
One policy was “Addressing the Housing Crunch Through Increasing Supply.” The other was “Affordable Rental Housing and a Fluid Labour Market.”
Meanwhile, the Sechelt Chamber has named Theressa Logan as its new executive director. Logan, who starts in the role at the end of the month, will replace long-time executive director Colleen Clark, who stepped down to take a position with the Greater Langley Chamber.
Logan is a small business owner on the Coast (part owner of Sunshine Coast Air in Sechelt) and she has a passion and drive that took her to the top of the list of candidates vying for the executive director position, Darwin said.
Logan said she appreciates the small businesses of Sechelt that contribute to the local economy and she pledges to work hard to help them in her new role.
“As executive director I will work very hard to ensure the success of these small businesses so our communities can prosper,” Logan said. “I will advocate on behalf of the business community to ensure their needs are met, their questions are answered, and provide opportunities to help them succeed.”