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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Land use, price changes and speculation on the urban fringe: an inter-temporal case study in the Victoria area, B.C. Kropinski, George Michael

Abstract

The price of urban and suburban land in most of the Western World has been increasing at a particularly-rapid rate. In fact, land value increases appear to be consistenty and disproportionately greater than the rise in either general consumer prices or costs of residential construction. Raw land values are an important element influencing both the quality and quantity of housing made available, and as such, constitute a relevant social concern. Furthermore, land values, to a certain extent dictate the type of development that an urban area undergoes. Land speculators have frequently been blamed for causing, or at least contributing to, not only these price increases but also the sprawl-like, pattern of development so often associated with urban peripheral areas. This thesis attempts to test the validity of these claims by analyzing data from a specific inter-temporal study of land uses price changes and land values in an urban fringe environment. The community selected for this study was the Municipality of Saanich, which is located immediately north of the City of Victoria, British Columbia. Over 2600 separate properties were sampled, with considerable amounts of data for each – including such inputs as the changing selling prices, holding periods and development information -- that were obtained through the municipal assessment roles and the searching of titles in the land registry office. The time horizon selected was 21 years (1949-1970) in order to encompass several stages of business activity. A special computer program using elements of multi-variate analysis assembled the various inputs into a workable format, whence portions of the data could be further analyzed and compared. It is suggested that the level of transactions and the increasing average raw land values have been influenced by both public and private actions in response to the continuing urbanization of the Victoria area. This study further contends that land speculation per se has not exerted a significant influence either on land prices or on the actual pattern of development in the study area. Population pressures and rising levels of per capita incomes are suggested as being factors of more significance in this context.

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