(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.
City of Vancouver council rejected the development application for 21 purpose-built rental townhouses in Vancouver’s exclusive enclave of Shaughnessy last week, and the owner is now proceeding with building a mansion on that lot instead. Councillors gave a variety of reasons for the rejection. Some were voicing concerns of about the compatibility of hospice use with the 3 ½ storey townhouse development next door, which seems far fetched as a quick look at St John’s hospice at UBC (the low building on the right in the picture here) shows.
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.
Today I saw a particlarly uninformed tweet claiming that “the most important areas to densify are near transit and are mostly upzoned already”. I tend to agree with the first part, but the notion that our frequent transit network is “mostly upzoned already” is plain wrong. I suspect that a lot of other casual observers share the misconception. So I decided to take this as an opportunity for a quick post to quantify zoning in our frequent transit network.
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.