Category Archives: politics

Moving to Seattle

JustMe‘ posted this article from Bloomberg about wealthy buyers moving from Vancouver to Seattle after the foreign buyer tax was implemented.

“Just a few days after Vancouver announced a tax on foreign property investors, Seattle real estate broker Lili Shang received a WeChat message from a wealthy Chinese businessman who wanted to sell a home in Canada and buy in her area.

After a week of showings, he purchased a $1 million property in Bellevue, across Lake Washington from Seattle. He soon returned to buy two more, including a $2.2 million house in Clyde Hill paid for with a single cashier’s check.”

Read the full article here (warning autoplay video).

City proposes 3.4% property tax increase

You can probably handle paying an extra $49 bucks, but George Affleck points out that over the past 10 years the city budget has grown 30% while population has grown 9%.

The $1.32-billion draft 2017 budget was released late Wednesday afternoon. It includes a 3.4 per cent property tax increase and other increases for utility, recreation and permit fees.

The city says the increases will go towards greater costs for existing services that are in line with inflation and new expenditures in other areas like social housing, security and the arts.

According to the city, the property and utility fee increases will amount to an extra $49 in costs for a median homeowner in Vancouver.

Read the full article over at the CBC.

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!