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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Globalisation and residential real estate in Canadian cities: a spatial approach Tutchener, Judith Karen


Research on house prices and housing markets has traditionally been concerned with the modelling of house price determinants using hedonic regression equations and other methods of data interpretation. While this research has unveiled some useful insights into the relationships between housing supply, housing demand, and selling price, more recent work has focused on the "specialness" of housing as a commodity and the subsequent dismissal of regression techniques that only serve to throw us into a "statistical soup". Recent research is different in two key respects. First, forces other than macro-level variables (eg. interest rates and the availability of finance) and micro-level variables (household income, size, proximity to work) are believed to contribute to the fluctuations in housing prices over time and through space: specifically, more subjective evaluations of locational amenity, identity construction, and community are now considered in the valorisation of housing. Furthermore, newer research also understands that exogenous influences (eg. immigration, foreign investment) now play a key role in the determination of residential value. This research on residential real estate markets in Canada engages in discussions revolving around the latter of the two approaches using both qualitative and quantitative methods. At the inter-urban scale, analysis of house price movements in Canada's largest cities shows the divergence of Toronto and Vancouver from other CMAs, a trend that coincides with the increasing globalisation of both cities over the last 15 years. Further, intra-urban analyses of both Toronto and Vancouver demonstrate differential impacts of globalisation and economic restructuring within each city with particular neighbourhoods being placed on more of a "global" real estate market (eg. gentrified neighbourhoods, residential areas experiencing offshore investment, and areas of settlement for wealthy immigrants). The particular impacts of globalisation are, however, very different in each city and is dependant upon the nature of the global flows that converge there. Moreover, these results are not politically mute; considerable effort has been expended in Vancouver at least to obscure the actual effects of internationalisation on the regional housing market.

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