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Letter: Density not the answer in Squamish

Squamish does not have expensive real estate.
Housing letter June 29
What are your thoughts? Let us know with a letter to the editor:

The councillors at the District of Squamish and the writer of this week’s Chief Editorial, “Costly to go back to single family home past,” (Published June 23) would have you believe that if Squamish built more high-density, multi-family housing, we would solve our affordability problem.

Unfortunately, there is no proof or existing examples to back up the idea that high density will decrease prices.

The first fact to know is that Vancouver, and by extension, Squamish, does not have expensive real estate.

Depending on where you look, Vancouver only ranks between the 35th to 90th most expensive cities in the world in terms of real estate. By some measures, there are at least 89 cities in the world with more expensive real estate than Vancouver. Sit with that for a minute and understand the implications. Our real estate is not expensive.

We are in a global marketplace. Squamish and Vancouver are both undervalued compared with other places in the world. The actions of DOS are largely irrelevant when it comes to impacting house prices. The DOS will destroy our quality of life in a vain attempt to make housing affordable. House prices will climb due to factors outside the DOS control.

The editorial pointed to another important fact: Silicon Valley real estate may be very expensive but the wages are high. An average Google employee makes about US$225,000 per year. Squamish is only expensive when comparing it to the wages of the average worker living here.

The problem is not that real estate is expensive in Squamish. The problem is that people around the world who make more money than us are willing to pay what the properties in Squamish are worth  Be prepared for Squamish house prices to reach global parity.

Vancouver consistently ranks in the top five places in the world to live.

Squamish is also probably one of the best places in the world to live. Our real estate prices are destined to rise from number 90 to somewhere in the top ten to reflect this fact. Things are going to get expensive here. Look around the world to see what’s happening.

I would like The Squamish Chief or our District Council to point to a city that is desirable and affordable and has become that way by building high-density housing. There is no such city.

Martin Fichtl

**Please note, this letter was modified after it was posted. A phrase was removed as the writer realized he misspoke.