Lots of Opportunity: Estimating the Zoning Tax in Vancouver

Zoning bylaws restrict the size and frontage of lots, preventing lots from getting subdivided. The opportunity cost of freezing City of Vancouver land use in RS zoned areas in amber is enormous, it amounts to around $40 billion from preventing 2:1 lots splits, and an additional $100 billion from preventing further subdivision beyond that.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

20 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TLDR We estimate the land value lost by lot subdivision restrictions in the RS (single-family) zoned lands of Vancouver. These restrictions, also known as the zoning tax, subsidize hoarding of land for the wealthy at the cost of those who wouldn’t mind sharing. We conservatively estimate the overall cost of preventing splitting of lots at $43 billion, or an average of 37% of existing lot land value.

Basement Confidential: Vancouver's Informal Housing Stock

Basement suites are the Schrödinger's cat of dwelling units, they span the space betweem formal and informal housing, viewed by some as the problem of, and by others as the solution to Vancouver's housing woes.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

12 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Informal housing While housing is highly regulated via zoning bylaws, building code, and fire code, in situations of housing scarcity we often get informal housing that exists outside of - or only partially covered by - the existing regulatory framework. We often associate slums or shantytowns with the term informal housing, but it also applies to more organized settlements like Kowloon Walled City, or, in the context of subterranean Vancouver, a good portion of our secondary suite stock.

Forced Out in Canada: New Data from CHS

What industries are dominant in Vancouver? People throw around all kinds of crazy stories, time take a look at the data and put some zombies to rest. At least for a day or two before someone else digs them up again.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

14 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TL;DR The new data release from CHS 2018 enables us to return to looking at mobility, with a special focus on forced moves. We estimate and compare the risk of forced moves for renters across Canada. We also provide some evidence for its sharp decline in BC in 2018, following protections put in place by the NDP. Finally, we compare risk of “forced move” to risk of “choice move” for renters.

Vaxx vs VOCs

Vaccines are here to rescue us, but variants of concern threaten to spoil it. What to expect in BC over the next two months as vaccines and variants of concern battle for dominance.

Jens von Bergmann

9 minute read

At this stage in the pandemic there is good news and bad news. The good news is that vaccines are ramping up. And change in dosing schedule means more people are getting some level of protection earlier. The bad news is that variants of concern, or VOCs, are on the rise in BC. We have a decent intuition how each one of these changes our pandemic, but unclear how they interact.

Data variants

We don't have data on variants of concern in BC, so let's take a look at different variants of building proxies.

Jens von Bergmann

10 minute read

Variants of concern are named such because they are concerning. The ones we worry about are B.1.1.7 (the variant first documented in UK), B.1.351 (the variant first documented in South Africa), and P.1 (the variant first documented in Brazil). Currently, B.1.1.7 is probably the most concerning in BC because we know it is significantly more infectious, with a daily growth rate average of around 10%. This means that in our current BC environment, where we have been seeing a decline by about 0.