What if I told you that I had the power to increase your income by 300% over just five short years? How about if I told you I could do that for your business? And, best of all, what if I told you that it is 100% legal, at least according to provincial legislation - however highly unethical and socially incomprehensible - because of the way the legislation is written. Depending on your moral background, and how much you valued your fellow human being, this would most certainly be a difficult choice for many.
On one hand, you have the ability to - almost certainly - raise your income astronomically in a relatively short amount of time, with little to no risk based on my knowledge and ability developed from performing this very investment strategy in other communities. On the other, it comes at a severe social cost to your fellow human being, as it puts their livelihoods at risk, and worse yet, forcing many into the unforgiving circumstances that come with being homeless and/or dependent on others just to get their next meal or provide for their children.
This is exactly what has happened right here in Regina in years of late, and the proof is very tangible and easily obtained. All one has to do is look at the price of housing (both in rental and sales) in the last five years, where it has more than doubled in just that short amount of time. In the past, an average increase of 3-4% was to be expected in Regina, but each year in the past five years, it has exploded by as much as 40% from one year to the next. Now, let's see you approach your employer about getting a 40% raise just to cover that sudden increase in housing.
So, what's to blame for the sudden explosion in housing prices in the Regina area? Well, there could be many factors taken into account, but there are few things that have remained consistent in Saskatchewan since 2007. One major factor happened when Saskatchewan voted in the Saskatchewan Party with leader Brad Wall in 2007. Add to that when you have municipal elected officials who are supposed to remain neutral when it comes to Provincial or Federal Politics - but plainly do not - and you have one of the most dangerous political combinations known to man.
So, by now, I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "But, Chad, where is the smoking gun evidence on the criminal behaviour?" To this, I have to say, once again, the way the provincial legislation is written, there technically is nothing blatantly illegal that has gone on over the past number of years - at face value. However, when you consider what happened in Montreal, I'm confident that many readers will be able to put two and two together.
Where does this 300% return get factored in? Well, this is the kicker. This is where a significant portion of the development industry has dug it's teeth into and went full boar, using the experience developed from other municipal "booms". The land. Land values have increased by over 300% in just the past five years. THREE-HUNDRED-PERCENT!!!! Now, who gains from this? The homeowner? Most certainly if you happen to have owned a home before the boom and want to sell during the boom. And, this is perfectly fine and completely legal and ethical and I have no problems with those that were fortunate enough to be in this situation. Keep in mind though that, in theory, there is little true net profit to be realized, since you have to purchase another house in that very boom you just made a whack of money in. Unless you choose to rent in the overpriced market for a few years until the boom dies down.
By now, I'm confident that you're understanding where the major issues are, and that being those individuals that stand to profit from this 300% gain in land value over such a relatively short period of time. Who would that be?
- Anyone in realty, as they earn a percentage of total sale price, which increases with land value.
- Any landowners who bought solely for the purpose of land speculation, hoping that one day their lands would be worth something, and before the date of sale, they did absolutely zero with the lands, other than perhaps renting it to farmers for use.
- Finally, land developers. There is tremendous opportunity for profit in each of the prior scenarios, and if you have the ability to manipulate the economy in such a way that Premier Brad Wall has, along with his cohort Former Mayor Pat Fiacco (who was given the silver spoon position of CEO of Tourism Saskatchewan), that is where it goes from "Good for you!" to "What won't you do for a quick buck?"
Keep in mind that this practice is not uncommon in other municipalities, and that is the justification you often hear about these boom periods. That is why it is so important for each and every one of you to hold your elected officials accountable for their actions. They count on you not caring enough to vote, or to pay close enough attention to see the deliberate deceptions they employ to keep you distracted from the real issues. They prey on the vulnerable and the weak, as anyone who has had to battle even the threat of homelessness will tell you, they have more important things to focus on - like putting food on the table each and every day.
Tune in next week for the third installment in unveiling the Dirty Little Secrets that surround the Regina City Council and our Elected Officials!