(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) In this post, we take a moment to appreciate the first housing policy announcements from BC’s new Premier, offered up just days into his term. David Eby comes to the post fresh from his joint roles as Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. In these roles, he was central to fashioning the teeth behind BC’s housing policy. Initially these teeth were directed at the private sector, with a special focus on rooting out the “toxic demand” thought to be leaving too many dwellings empty.
(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TLDR Canadian Census data on “Dwellings Unoccupied by Usual Residents” are frequently misunderstood. Now that data from 2021 are out, we provide a timely explainer and draw upon a variety of resources, including comparisons with US data, Empty Homes Tax data, and zooming in on census geographies, to help people interpret what we can see. Canada Unoccupied Given that ongoing occupations are so much in the news, let’s turn the channel to talk about those parts of Canada that are unoccupied!
(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Say you built a bunch of housing in a cornfield in the middle of rural Iowa. Would people come to live in it? Maybe. But probably not. Let’s imagine the same scenario scooted over to Vancouver. The conditions for our little field of dreams have changed. Here we’re pretty comfortable predicting: if you build it, they will come. Housing limits population growth here in a way it does not in rural Iowa.
(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TL;DR We now have three years of Speculation and Vacancy Tax data for BC, demonstrating generally less than one percent of properties pay the tax in most municipalities. We play around with the data we scraped from files released by the BC government to show: how the federal CHSP program systematically overstates “foreign ownership” how source of revenue estimates shift depending upon definitions and tax rates how properties are moving into rentals and what else we can glean from exemptions and revenue data.
(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Informal housing While housing is highly regulated via zoning bylaws, building code, and fire code, in situations of housing scarcity we often get informal housing that exists outside of - or only partially covered by - the existing regulatory framework. We often associate slums or shantytowns with the term informal housing, but it also applies to more organized settlements like Kowloon Walled City, or, in the context of subterranean Vancouver, a good portion of our secondary suite stock.