Metro Vancouver’s population is growing. For planning purposes we want to understand how our population will be growing. For that we need projections. Here we need to carefully distinguish two related but distinct types of population projections. projections of population demand, and projections of population growth. Projecting demand, or even just estimating current population demand, is complex. Demand is a function of a variety of factors, most importantly jobs, and amenities, as well as home prices and rents (in relation to incomes and wealth).
(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) The province has released (via press release) the first data on its Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT)! Huzzah! Previously, we’ve speculated on what this data would show. In particular, we estimated that around 8,800 dwellings would show up as empty in a way likely to be taxed by the speculation tax. How close were we? Well, the speculation tax has so far identified 8,738 owners of empty properties.
Another “working paper” on Vancouver’s real estate woes came out, this one by Josh Gordon. We have been contemplating for a week now if it is worth responding to, but after seeing one too many obviously false statements about what the working paper supposedly shows making the rounds, we felt the benefits of addressing this might outweigh the costs of further entrenching the camps in Vancouver’s real estate debates with this post.
One week ago the new batch of CHSP data on ownership of residential properties in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scocia came out, and I tweeted some quick graphs. While there has been reporting on some aspect of the numbers in the news a couple of days after, it struck me that this did not really hit all the questions that are on the public mind that the data can address.
(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.