(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) BC has introduced the Speculation and Vacancy Tax and instructions for filling out the declarations are in the mail. The tax targets homes in major urban centres that are left empty, or that are owned by “foreign and domestic speculators” that “don’t pay [income] taxes” in BC. The tax rate is 0.5% of the assessed value in 2018. From 2019 onward rates increase to 2% for foreigners (not permanent residents nor Canadian citizens) as well as citizens or permanent residents that are deemed members of “satellite families.
When we (Denis and Jens) got together for coffee the other day, Denis showed off some maps of renter density in the frequent transit network that he was working on. The idea immediately clicked and we decided to work this out together. Motivated by the issue of renter demoviction caused by the 2017 Metrotown Plan, we set out to quantify how one could plan for displacement on a regional level, instead of treating it as an unwelcome consequence of development at the lot level.
Disclaimer Apologies up front, this is a bit of a hodge podge of a blog post. I have about half a dozen stubs on rental data and affordability that I looked at at some point while trying to understand some aspect of rental affordability. But it’s a large and complex topic, and I never took the time to distill out coherent storylines. Rather than keep pushing things off I decided to grab a couple of relevant pieces and put them together in a short blog post.
Zombie attack! Zombies fleeing Vancouver want to eat your brain… drain… or something. A couple of weeks ago The Canadian Press reported a story asserting that young professionals were leaving Vancouver because of the high cost of housing. This fits in with a common zombie refrain that we hear from the media. It’s a story that just won’t die, no matter how many times it’s proven wrong: Millennials, or young people, or boomers, or people important for some other reason are leaving Vancouver because of housing.
High-value homes frequently make the news in Vancouver, most recently in the wake of the extra school tax for homes valued over $3M. The province will have looked at the data before introducing the legislation, but none of this seems to have filtered out to the general public. So maybe there is a need to take a closer look using Census data. The census is a couple of years old now, and things have changed a bit since then.