Will a new tax on vacant homes help solve the affordability crisis?
The speculation tax will apply to those who own multiple properties in Metro Vancouver, the Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca), Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo-Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission.
The tax will apply at a reduced rate in 2018, based on property owned as of Dec. 31. It expands in 2019 to 0.5 per cent of assessed value for B.C. residents, one per cent for Canadians from outside B.C., and two per cent for non-Canadians.
Owners are exempt if they rent their properties for at least six months a year. And there is also a tax credit for B.C. residents with second homes valued under $400,000.
James pointed to exemptions she said will make the tax fair, including for people facing medical emergencies, people who have to relocate suddenly for a job, seniors who enter care homes, people undergoing a separation, and those with disabilities.
“If people choose to leave their homes vacant where the housing crisis is the deepest, we are asking them to pay their fair share. All that revenue will be returned to British Columbians in the form of affordable housing,” said James.
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