Assessment Data

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.

Taxing property instead of income in B.C.

What if we were more like Washington and replaced the provinial income tax by a property tax?

Jens von Bergmann

6 minute read

Vancouver has low property taxes and high income taxes. Seattle is the opposite. What would it look like if British Columbia was more like Washington State? If we got rid of personal provincial income tax and recovered the revenue by raising the provincial portion of the residential property tax, a.k.a. the “school tax”. The tax policy of British Columbia, when compared to Washington, is sending the message that it’s a great place to come and invest in property with it’s low property tax rate, but not such a great place to live and work with it’s higher income tax rate.

Extra School Tax Calculator

Apparently 8th grade math ability is inversly proportional to property values, here is a simple calculator for those still suffering from consequences of sub-par math education.

Jens von Bergmann

6 minute read

One thing the extra school tax debate has brought to light is how challenging 8th grade math is for people, especially those living in homes valued over $3M. Journalists also seem to have trouble putting outrageously wrong statements into perspective, so here is a simple calculator on how much extra school tax people will owe depending on their home value, years until home is sold, expected changes in the real estate market, interest rates on deferred (through government program or second mortgage) taxes.

Teardowns and Emissions

Analysing the impact of Vancouver's teardown cycle on carbon emissions.

Jens von Bergmann

15 minute read

Demolitions Middle Finger

Last year we took a detailed look at Single Family teardowns in Vancouver, that is houses in RS or “Single Family” zoning that got torn down. We focused exclusively on those homes in RS zoning because these have to be replaced by another, often bigger, Single Family home. Using historical data we build a probabilistic model to predict future teardowns in Vancouver. If you haven’t taken the time yet to read through the data story, you probably should do that right now.

A modest school-tax proposal

Looking into the school tax outrage.

Jens von Bergmann

5 minute read

We have written about the extra school tax before, but in the meantime the discussion about the extra school tax has heated up considerably, cumulating in David Eby cancelling his town hall today. Over the years I also have been spending some time thinking about how people got to the privilege of paying the extra school tax, for example here and here. There is a slight dissonance with people claiming that their homes should not be taxed because they are their homes and not their investment.