Historic Vancouver real estate talk sparked by Courier article

Michael Geller has been collecting newspaper clippings on real estate stories for decades

An upcoming talk on Vancouver housing by developer Michael Geller, taking place this Thursday May 10, came about because of a Vancouver Courier article on old real estate headlines.

The Courier columnist and housing expert has been collecting newspaper clippings on real estate stories for more than 30 years. When he shared these scrapbooks with the Courier, it inspired this well-read article on the similarities – and differences – between headlines of yore and those of today.

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Geller was then inspired to take the story to the next level by basing his latest SFU lecture on his clippings and what can be learned from them.

The free event, at SFU’s downtown campus, is called “Looking back, Looking forward: Reflections on Housing Metro Vancouver.”

The SFU website event page says, “While Metro Vancouver has changed dramatically over the past four decades, many concerns of yesteryear are surprisingly similar to those of today – foreign buyers, rental crisis, dwindling land supply, locals-first policies, and disdain for developers.”

When announcing the lecture in April, Geller told the Courier, “This talk marks my fourth anniversary as a columnist with the Courier and is inspired by Joannah Connolly’s interest in and story about my newspaper clippings. I plan to review many items from past issues of the Courier and [sister newspaper] Real Estate Weekly which deal with issues that remain surprisingly relevant today.”

Geller told the Courier in an email this week, “Too many people think the affordability crisis facing Vancouver today is new. But it isn't. In fact, many of the issues we are facing – such as the impact of foreign investment, a below-zero rental vacancy rate, and even whether to impose locals-first buying policies – have challenged us in the past. In order to determine how best to address housing affordability in the future, I think it is valuable to look at what has happened in the past.

“This talk will review how we have got to where we are today, where we have made progress, and what we might do in the future to improve housing affordability.”

The lecture is being held at 7pm, Thursday May 10, at SFU Vancouver Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street. It is free to attend but pre-registration is required as the event will fill up. Seats can be reserved via EventBrite here.

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