Redeveloping single storey commercial properties into mixed use is taking off in Vancouver right now. It’s a little frustrating to see how pretty much every story I have seen on this get the effect this has on property taxes wrong, including one on the generally quite good Price Tags blog. People claim that converting single story commercial to mixed use pushes up the property taxes for the commercial tenants. Property taxes are an important piece of the puzzle in Vancouver, so I decided to go into a little detail on this.
Since I started thinking about tax density, the amount of property taxes collected per area, I always felt that the data presentation in the map fell short. Property taxes are somewhat insulated from the ups and downs of the real estate market as they are need-based and the mill rate changes to flatten out the crazyness of the market. But what they lack in interesting patterns over time they more than makes up for in interesting patterns in space.
The other day I saw that Downtown brings in 23% of CoV tax revenue but only makes up 5% of the city area. Intrigued by that I decided to add a ‘Tax Density’ layer to my Vancouver Assessment Map. The idea was to try and understand the tax revenue generated by different areas in Vancouver. The data is already available in the CoV open data property dataset so it would only take half an hour to ad it to my map.