Category Archives: supply

City following up on declarations for empty home tax

It looks like the city is serious about the empty home tax, at least one commenter here has received notice of an audit.

Well it seems the City is following up on the declarations made for its Empty Home Tax.

We were just notified that we are being audited for declaring our home as occupied as a principal residence. Interesting, since we’ve been in the same location for many years, and there are many empty homes in our area. You’d think the City would look at the homes that have changed hands more recently, since these are the ones that are left empty!

 

30 years of vacant lots in False Creek

We may be running out of land, but apparently the old expo lands aren’t. The city has had tentative rights to 6 vacant lots intended for affordable housing for almost 3 decades:

Veteran architect and planner Michael Geller said it is “outrageous” that these sites haven’t been developed, but he believes talks could now be rekindled — even if the levels of government come up with a different plan for who might live in these future buildings, such as a mix of social, low-income, rental and affordable ownership. Some type of solution is required, he argued, if people are going to believe the affordable housing promises made for future developments in the city.

“When Northeast False Creek came up, I did say: Look, it’s great to promise all this affordable housing, but let’s not forget we still have these six sites undeveloped in the north shore of False Creek,’” said Geller, who was involved in the Coal Harbour development at the time.

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.

Empty home tax hurts those with second homes

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.

The architect and the economics professor

Bear Vancouverite pointed out this debate on CKNW:

I wanted to share this with you guys: a debate between Tom Davidoff and architect Michael Geller. Davidoff is a UBC economics professor in the Sauder School of Business which some here have (wrongly) accused of being in the RE Industry’s pocket. In this debate Davidoff’s position is that:

1) The rich who own huge homes are being subsidized by the rest of us
2) We should get rid of the Home Owner’s Grant (Michael Geller brings this up too)
3) We should encourage more density in super low density areas like Point Grey
4) We should not gentrify low income areas to increase density if we can increase density in wealthy areas
5) We need to curb demand using tax policy ( Speculator’s Tax)
6) Housing needs to be in line with local incomes

I’ve seen other interviews with Davidoff in the past and I believe he considers our housing overpriced, manipulated by wealth and speculation, and would like to see prices more in line with local incomes.

The one aspect that he believes that I think have offended some people here is he believes “everyone wants to live here”.

https://omny.fm/shows/steele-drex/on-vancouver-housing-geller-v-davidoff-heavyweight