A first look at the locals-first policy in Vancouver

You may have heard a new term buzzing around the news quite a bit lately. That term is “locals first,” which has gained traction since Mayor Gregor Robertson introduced a motion to city council on October 17 that aims to prioritize new pre-sale homes for Vancouver residents. One day later, the proposed policy passed, seven to two.

Since then, we’ve been hearing questions and concerns voiced by many of our clients, some of which you may share. Most news reports don’t help to answer these questions because in reality, no one truly knows what the motion will mean quite yet. To clear up any confusion, here’s what we know so far:

The city has approved a group to form and after a period of research, present a policy framework for new development applications, which would give residents who live and work in Metro Vancouver the first opportunity to purchase pre-sale homes in Vancouver, regardless of citizenship.

The proposed policy is intended to be put in place by the end of the year, and is a part of the city’s new 10-year housing strategy, which is seeking to relieve the affordable housing crisis in Vancouver.

The motion specifically cites an agreement which took place in 2016 in West Vancouver, which prioritized marketing and sales of a new development to local residents for the first 30 days, then to Metro Vancouverites for the next 60 days. Buyers would also sign a form stating that they intended to live in the units and not flip them, and restricted the bulk purchases of units. As the only example named in the mayor’s motion, it’s safe to assume the specifics of this agreement is something the new group will heavily draw their policy proposal from.

The motion has drawn some criticism from many parties as well as much speculation for what the future holds. At this point, we don’t know how this policy will be enacted. If you’re confused what this may mean for you, you’re in good company. It’s too soon to tell. As further details of the “locals first” policy develop in the weeks to come, we’ll be here to help you unpack how it may affect you, your family and your future home.

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