The economist ranks Calgary as the most liveable city in Canada, Vancouver follows up in 6th place.
Every year, the research and analysis arm of the London-based publisher of the Economist magazine ranks 140 cities and scores them based on 30 different factors, boiled down to five categories:
- Stability (based on local rates of crime, terrorism and military unrest).
- Quality of local health care.
- Local culture and environment (everything from weather to quality of local restaurants).
- Quality of education.
- Quality of infrastructure (everything from transit to electrical grids and telecommunications networks).
Melbourne was first seven years in a row before being displaced by the Austrian capital.
Not factored in on that list: cost of living or incomes. Read the full article over at the CBC.
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.
The word ‘Affordable’ is subjective, what seems like a good deal to some is outrageous to others.
So to clear up the debate the city has put some numbers to the word ‘affordable’ in their guidelines for rentals built under a city incentive program:
$1750 for a 1 bedroom apartment
$2505 for a 2 bedroom apartment
Does that match up with your expectations for the term affordable?
Yvr2zrh shared this comment:
Wow. Quite a lot of negatives for real estate values.
1.) If you live outside Vancouver and keep an apartment empty there, you now have a very punitive tax. Total will be 3% by 2019 (only 0.5% provincial in 2018 as a bit of a leeway to allow people to sell).
2.) FBT @20% – pretty good. Big tax – starts immediately. Wow . More people will get caught again. Deals will die. Also if property is over $3M – this will make it 25% for a foreigner to buy a Van West house. Then they have to pay 3% per year ($90K?) to leave it empty. Game over.
3.) The 2% spec tax – Strange name – it’s more of an absentee owner / empty home tax. It’s pretty sizeable. It’s going to be strange but somehow I think they are going to force it onto certain “principal residences” i.e. students, 10-Year visa people – who don’t qualify for really being a resident. Then – if they really pay tax in BC there is a tax credit. Good system.
4.) Full reporting of pre-sale transactions for tax purposes. I suppose that may help but you need to require a tax withholding for non-residents because otherwise – they just won’t pay.
5.) Unveiling all the hidden ownership – starting with collecting on new transactions and forcing existing transactions to be unveiled.
So – I would say that “Housing for Housing” has been supported and properties for non-residents etc – – that will be tough. What about all the Okanagan properties owned by Albertans – – It’s going to be interesting to see how many people bail!!!
People who own seconds homes in Vancouver are suffering under the new empty home tax:
The Unfair Vancouver Vacant Homes Tax Coalition describes its purpose in the name. The group is calling on the city to do something as the Feb. 2 deadline for the empty home tax declaration approaches.
Rainer Borkenhagen says the group is made of members that are mostly retired and live across the country, but still own homes in Vancouver.
Borkenhagen himself lives in Gibsons, but owns a condo in Vancouver.
He said he tried to rent his condo once, but it turned out it was more practical to keep it and use it whenever his family needed it.
Read the full article here.