Vancouver city council to vote on ‘locals first’ condo pre-sale policy

Vancouver city council to vote on ‘locals first’ condo pre-sale policy

Vancouver city council is expected to vote Tuesday on an initiative that would set the stage for a “locals first” policy regarding pre-sale condos.

The concept is modeled on a West Vancouver policy that sees new projects marketed exclusively to local residents for the first 30 days, and to Metro Vancouver residents for the next 60 days.

The concept would also see buyers sign an agreement to live in the units, rather than flip them as well as prohibit bulk purchases.

The proposal is a part of Vancouver’s “housing reset,” which aims to deliver 72,000 new homes over 10 years.

Details on how the city would enforce such a policy remain unclear, with the mayor’s motion only asking city staff to produce a “framework” for applying the policy to new developments.

Also unclear is just how many local home buyers the policy would affect. Developers have argued that more than 90 per cent of pre-sales are already going to area residents.

“I’m really interested in seeing the industry’s data on this,” Robertson told reporters during a break in council proceedings on Tuesday.

“Our city staff [is] having the opportunity to go through the numbers and figure out where is it that locals don’t get access to new projects. Because we’re hearing that from local buyers. We want to make sure we understand why that is.”

The move comes as critics charge that pre-sale condo units are being marketed specifically to overseas buyers — sometimes at a discount.

Last month, developer Onni took heat over an ad targeting Hong Kong buyers pledging “a special discount, which is cheaper than buying in Canada” for two Metro Vancouver properties.

Onni says that the ads were posted without its permission by an agency that is not connected to the company.

A timeline for staff to report back on the mayor’s proposal, if approved, has not been set.

Information obtained from Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. -With files from Amy Judd