Category Archives: BC

Getting Denser

There is a move afoot to discourage owners from tearing down pre 1940s character homes in Vancouver, but this brings concerns that such a move would limit development and supply.

The mayor agrees and is making statements hinting at increasing housing mix in low density neighborhoods:

“People are feeling squeezed out,” said Robertson.

He argues since 2011, more than 1000 people have left neighbourhoods like Dunbar, Arbutus Ridge and Kerrisdale — neighbourhoods that feature character-style homes.

“It’s clear our lowest density neighbourhoods are changing and we need to make sure they’re changing for the people who need them,” he said.

Robertson says, “now is the right time to advance the conversation for more affordability and a mix of housing types that fit within our single family home neighbourhoods.”

His statement says that mix could include townhomes, row houses, and duplexes.

Meanwhile, roughly 1,000 homes are torn down every year in Vancouver and the majority of those were built before 1940.

Read the full article here.

Axing the property transfer tax

The Premier would like to get rid of or minimize the property transfer tax but it currently just brings in too much money.

“We really want to start knocking down the property transfer tax because it is a drag on our economy. It is one thing that we can do to try and increase affordability,” Clark said.

“Why don’t we do it in this budget? Because this year we brought in $928 million in revenue. The only way to replace that would be to raise taxes elsewhere,” she said.

Is the buying and selling of homes where our economy needs a boost?

Read the full article here.

Eliminate character to avoid affordability 

There are some old homes on Vancouver and some people think we shouldn’t be tearing down 1000 of them each year.  The city has some heritage and ‘character’ protections in place, but these have the unfortunate side effects of slowing the relentless rising of house prices:

“The real data on the house next door is that it reduced the value by 15 per cent,” said Jackson, whose neighbour’s house was re-listed and sold for less money after the city determined it has “character features” on the exterior. 

Read the full article here

In Vancouver your basement suite can be a mansion

Someone at zero hedge saw the unoccupied units stats for Vancouver and decided to refer to them all as ‘mansions’:

There Are 66,719 Empty Mansions In Vancouver

Yan said most of these were concentrated in three areas: Coal Harbour, Marine Gateway and Joyce-Collingwood. Surrey came in second at 11,195, Burnaby at 5,829 and Richmond at 4,021. The focus has clearly been on the most expensive neighborhoods: the number of unoccupied units increased 25% in Richmond between the 2011 and 2016 census and by 28 per cent in Burnaby.

To take advantage of this multi-million mansion ghost town, in November 2016 the Vancouver city council voted to approve a tax on empty homes, the first in Canada. Based on self-reporting owners, the tax is a one-per-cent charge on homes that are not principal residences or are not rented out for at least six months of the year. The goal was to improve Vancouver’s tight rental vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent by encouraging owners of thousands of empty units to offer them up for renting.

Read the full article here.

Interest free loans get expensive

Bullwhip29 points out an article that says the BC first time buyer loans program will likely cost the government twice as much as they claim.

“The Ministry of Finance estimates that for every dollar of loan proceeds under HOME, taxpayers will lose about 19 cents in administrative costs and foregone interest. This estimate ignores the cost of default losses that may arise if borrowers are unable to repay their loans.”

Read the full article here.