Letter: Monster home madness will implode in Richmond

Dear Editor,

Soon, we will be entering the fourth decade re: the phenomenon of the monster home/mega mansion.

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For terms of reference, it would be reasonable to submit the aforementioned are a new generation of single family homes built to maximize local government’s permitted square footage. 

In days of olde, such large homes were the domain of the upper classes, whether it was to keep up with the Joneses in neighbourhoods such as Shaughnessy, or simply large, often old-money pioneer homes that had middle class homes develop around them over time. 

Regardless, the vast majority of homes that existed prior to the monster home era were in the range of 1200 sq ft. (ie single storey rancher)  and 2400 sq ft (two- storey). 

Many long-term Richmond residents will recall such homes were the norm, and still sufficient to raise large families.

However, in the monster home era, we see these older homes being replaced with new homes in the 5,000 + sq. ft.  range, far in excess of any practical needs. 

Monster homes on what the city defines as arterial routes are now themselves being demolished, to be replaced by higher density multi-family units.

In the inner subdivisions, the original smaller homes are being demolished, to the point of extinction, to cater to an irrational niche industry.

Excluding the arterial routes, history has shown that the fate of large monster homes is not positive.

Vancouvers’ wealthy Shaughnessy area, after the Great Depression, was referred to as Poverty Heights. Many of the residents lost their homes, which drastically collapsed in value. Many of these homes were converted into multi-tenanted rooming houses and nursing homes, or, ironically, “affordable housing ”.

However, Shaughnessy was a relatively small niche with respect to the Metro Vancouver area.

 Over that last 30 years, every municipal government has succumbed to the monster home madness. This market will collapse. It is only matter of time when the irrational exuberance implodes. In its wake will remain a huge oversupply of large homes whose inflated prices will collapse, the vultures will swarm in and turn them into crowded rental units. 

 To politicians and urban planners, history will show you have all failed us miserably.

R.A.Hoegler

Richmond

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