The night before the council hearing discussing the character home zoning review and changes to duplex zoning we decided to spend some time understanding for who we keep 67% of residential land zoned as “single family” (RS), and another 2% as quasi single family in First Shaugnessey (FSD) and 9% as “duplex” (RT). Keeping things simple, let’s just look at RS. Who Can Afford To Buy? That’s a pretty easy question to answer.
Over the backdrop of Vancouver’s rising real estate values the exhibition of the “Vienna Model” at the Museum of Vancouver has triggered lots of discussions about what Vancouver could learn from cities like Wien. There are many angles to approach this, one of them that has received a lot of attention is the much larger proportion of government owned subsidized housing in Wien compared to Vancouver. In this post we want to focus on a different angle: land use.
A little over a year ago we ran some analysis on teardowns of single family homes in the City of Vancouver. We used the City of Vancouver open data to understand why some single family homes got torn down and other’s don’t. Relying entirely on open data, there were some important questions that could not be answered. So together with Joe Dahmen at UBC’s School Of Architecture And Landscape Architecture we came back to the question and folded in transaction data from BC Assessment to add some more details and rigor.
Almost a year has passed since we first noticed how sitting on single family homes and twiddling thumbs generates more income than working. And not just at the level of individual single family households. In the City of Vancouver, the cumulative land value gains of just the single family homes eclipsed the cumulative taxable earnings reported to the CRA for the entire population. With the new assessment data available now, it is time to run the numbers and see how our thumb-twiddlers fared vs workers this year.
Earlier this month the province increased the threshold for the homeowner grant from $1.2 million to $1.6 million dollars. It’s an election year, and with the BC Assessment data for the City of Vancouver now being available via their open data catalogue we can ask who exactly this move was targeting. Restricted to the City of Vancouver, the answer is quite simple. There are about 24,000 single family homes, 1,200 duplex units and 4,000 condo units in that bracket.