Tax Speculations

Estimating what to expect from the Speculation and Vacancy Tax.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

28 minute read

(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.

Planned displacement

How can we ensure that densifying Vancouver won't be taken out on the backs of the most vulnerable?

Jens von Bergmann

9 minute read

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.

Vancouver renters

Understanding renter households in Vancouver

Jens von Bergmann

12 minute read

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.

Understanding income distributions across geographies and time

Some thoughts on income distributions and labelling neighbrourhoods as low, middle, or high income: Most of our neighbourhoods are neither, they are truely mixed-income.

Jens von Bergmann

13 minute read

When trying to understand the income makeup of regions in Canada we need to take the income distribution and simplify in a way that is accessible. This is no easy task. Simplification is an essential part of this, but we need to take care not to over-simplify but instead still retain the essential parts. How to measure income? To start we have to select an income measure. Partially this is constrained by data availability, but there are choices.

Toronto wards

Fun with Toronto wards and census data.

Jens von Bergmann

4 minute read

Vancouver had elections on Saturday, today Toronto had their elections. And as opposed to Vancouver, Toronto has wards. Which makes things more fun, as we can look at census data for each ward to understand how people voted in the ward. We ran a very similar type of analysis the other day for Vancouver, so this is an easy add. The Toronto Open Data catalogue has data for the ward boundaries and a custom tab with census data.