Category Archives: equity

Hey Vancouver! Why so miserable?

You’d think that living in a great city would make you happy, but apparently that’s not true for everyone.  Southseacompany points out this article about why people in Vancouver and Toronto are so unhappy.

Vancouver is now a place you try to survive as much as enjoy. All the problems are well known, the greatest being the high cost of housing. When you, as a young person, have little hope of making a comfortable life in a city that you love, of course it’s going to cause unhappiness. There is a sense that Vancouver is being yanked away from those who love it most, taken over by mercantilists and arrivistes from around the world who care little about a city’s “soul” so long as the skiing’s good and there’s a place that sells beluga caviar. And then there are those sitting on a lottery ticket with the house they bought years ago, waiting to cash out, and those sitting on a mountain of debt, praying interest rates don’t go up. It doesn’t sound like the kind of environment that would engender a cool community vibe, a place where relationships between people can flourish. And that, I think, is what the survey on happiness has tapped into.

Read the full article here.

BC slides

Kabloona pointed out this article: “dramatic drop in home sales makes B.C. an outlier among provinces”

“VANCOUVER—B.C.’s real-estate market has gone from being one of the strongest in the country to the weakest as the number of sales drops sharply in comparison to other provinces.

The B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) is forecasting a 21 per cent drop in sales in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of sales in July was 24 per cent lower than the previous July, according to Douglas Porter, chief economist and managing director of BMO Financial Group….

“…..Compared to the rest of the country we are noticing that it’s especially weak, which is quite a turnaround from what we’ve seen over much of the past 10 to 15 years,” Porter said. “It’s quite unusual for Vancouver to stick out.”

Read the full article here.

Millionaires protest exorbitant unfair tax

From justme: people that own homes worth more that 3 million dollars may have to pay an extra housing tax. For a 3.5 million dollar property that could cost as much as $50 to $100 per month.

“Owners of multi-million dollar homes are probably not going to endear themselves to the public by pleading financial hardship. Nevertheless, more than 100 Vancouver residents gathered in a park last week to protest a surtax introduced by the provincial NDP government on homes worth more than $3 million. They wielded signs claiming the government “wants to confiscate your hard-earned home savings!” The tax, they said, is “unfair,” “exorbitant” and “predatory.”

Read more here.

Toronto prices drop 12% as sales plunge

Toronto is becoming a better and better investment as prices fall, you just need to buy when they’ve stopped falling. Right now they’re seeing quite a price drop.

Re-sale home prices in the Toronto region dropped 12.4 per cent, or about $110,000, year over year in February.

The average price fell to $767,818, from $875,983 for all housing categories, including detached, semi-detached, town homes and condos.

The number of sales also plunged nearly 35 per cent last month compared to Feburary 2017 — to 5,175 transactions from last year’s record 7,955, according to the latest statistics from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) on Tuesday.

Read the full article here.

BC Speculation Tax Impact

People who own more than one home are worried about the new speculation tax:

From a Vancouver Island resident with a condo in Vancouver: “If the proposed speculation tax proceeds as you describe, the two-per-cent tax will far exceed the B.C. income tax that we normally pay. We will have no choice but to sell our Vancouver condo. We’re not speculators. We simply wanted to enjoy a few days a month in the city we used to live in, in the comfort of our own condo.”

On the problem for seniors with recreational properties that have been in the family for years: “If they pay zero income tax because their annual income is low enough to warrant no tax — i.e. married couple making around $25,000 or so — they’d never recover the amount.”

From someone with a place on Saturna: “They call it a speculation tax, but it seems more like an empty home tax. The government claims that taxing homes which remain empty most of the year will help deal with the housing shortage. If that is the case, why isn’t Whistler included? The prices are skyrocketing and there is a real housing shortage for workers. On the other hand, they include a Gulf Island like Saturna, where there isn’t a housing shortage and housing prices haven’t risen in more than eight years.”

On the perverse incentives of a tax vis-a-vis longtime residents versus actual speculators: “If you speculate and sell the property quickly, you pay the tax once, while those keeping property for years pay years of tax. The short-term speculators win!”

Read the full article here.