Category Archives: politics

How do you tax an empty home?

The city of Vancouver has floated the idea of an ’empty home tax’ to help encourage the availability of rental supply.  Today is the last day they will take feedback online for this idea.

If you have ideas for or against an empty home tax now is the time to have your input. What should be taxed and what should be exempt?

Best Place on Meth points out a rather obvious loophole and asks how it would be dealt with. Will there be baseline expectations for what is or isn’t market rent?

What’s to stop these owners from listing it for rent at some outrageous price that nobody will pay and then claiming they did try to rent it out?

What do you think – is the idea of an empty home tax a good or bad approach to Vancouvers housing problems?

HALT Rally Recap

HALT_YVR wrote in with a recap of this weekends rally and a link to video of the first 4 speakers:

Hi all,

We just wanted to say thanks to everyone that managed to make it out to our rally this Saturday. Despite the lousy weather, we managed to get 200 people out to make noise about this housing crisis slowly grinding local Vancouverites into dust. We had some great speakers that ran the gamut from average citizens to lawyers, economists, and activists. For those that didn’t get a chance to make it out, here’s a video of the first 4 of our 6 speakers. It’s long at 45 min but well worth the listen: https://youtu.be/h6wRS-fMHi4

We’ll keep you posted on future events that are just now in the planning stages. Expect another event to draw attention to our housing crisis and pressure government in the next two months.

In the meantime like our FB Page to keep up with all the latest updates: https://www.facebook.com/HALTVancouver/

Thanks again for your support,
The HALT Team

$500 Million for Affordable housing

The BC government has announced that they will fund $500 million of affordable housing projects in the province using money brought in via property transfer taxes and the new foreign buyer tax.

Real estate related taxes are now the single largest revenue generator for the BC government, surpassing the 1.2 billion from gambling and all individual resource industry taxes.  In fact, when you combine all resource industry taxes the cumulative figure only exceeds real estate tax income by a few decimal points.

The BC real estate economy is possibly the finest example of a perpetual motion machine in existence. Taxes raised via real estate goes into buying and building more real estate. Win-win!

There’s a new sheriff in town

In an attempt to bring more regulation and oversight to the BC real estate market a new ‘superintendent of real estate‘ position has been created by the provincial government.

Micheal Noseworthy has been named as the new superintendent of real estate.

He’s an experienced regulator having recently served as a senior government regulator for Yukon. Noseworthy most recently served as superintendent of Real Estate, superintendent of Insurance, registrar of Lotteries and registrar of Medical Practitioners.

“I look forward to drawing upon my experiences as both a regulator and a lawyer with experience in real estate and administrative law to serve the interests of British Columbia’s real estate consumers by working swiftly to implement the reforms initiated by the government,” said Noseworthy in a statement.

Read the full article over at News 1130.

Seller raises price then offers tax discount to foreign buyers.

Here’s a good way to get your listing in the news:

One Metro Vancouver realtor says he will cut the sale price of his own Richmond home by 15 per cent for any international buyer, in a response to the province’s new levy against foreign citizens who want in on the region’s overheated housing market.

Eddy Chen says a person from Mainland China was in the midst of completing the paperwork on the purchase of his $1.98-million house last week when the government announced its new tax, which comes into effect Tuesday. The buyer walked away after the government’s surprise announcement because they could not get a home inspection or mortgage approved fast enough to avoid an extra $298,000 brought on by the new levy, he said.

“They said they don’t think it’s fair to foreign buyers, so they want to wait and see what happens [to the market],” he said. “There’s no point for them to rush it through, because they thought they were ripped off by those extra taxes.”

Now, he has upped the price to $2.35-million, but says he will take 15 per cent off for any foreign citizen hit by the new property transfer tax so they “have an equal opportunity to get the property.”

Thank goodness there’s still a sense of decency and fairness in the world.  Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.