Housing affordability lessons from Vancouver for the City of Sydney

It is a city cresting a golden wave. Global capital is pouring in, the population is booming and the state government is turning huge surpluses.

Meanwhile, house prices have accelerated at an unimaginable pace, pricing out everyone from the most vulnerable to those with professional jobs, as record numbers of homeless people move on to the city’s streets.

Sound familiar? The city is not Sydney, but Vancouver.

It has been grappling a housing affordability crisis for over a decade, leaving it mired in the same problems that now grip Sydney, and dominate conversations from the backyard barbecue to the country’s highest paid policy wonks.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, now in his ninth year in office – a tenure that has been dominated by the worsening crisis – can spot the parallels with Sydney from a mile away.

“It took cities like New York and London a generation of global capital influx to skew their real estate prices. Vancouver has happened in a decade, at most,” he said.

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