Have you been following the news lately with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s plea to Premier Christy Clark for tax reforms in effort to control real estate speculation in Vancouver?
Essentially Mayor Robertson is asking for an additional step in the Property Transfer Tax that would target luxury homes when they change ownership. This would help discourage home-flipping and absentee ownership, which many believe are driving up the prices of homes in Vancouver.
Currently, Property Transfer Tax in British Columbia charges 1% on the first $200,000 in property value and 2% after that. For example an $800,000 home for sale will eventually generate $14,000 in tax revenue for the Provincial Government. Every year BC Property Transfer Tax brings in more than $900 million in revenue.
Robertson is suggesting increasing the tax on the higher end, most expensive properties and investing the additional tax revenue into affordable housing.
Other suggestions by Robertson include tax measures to discourage quick resales which could help reduce speculation as well as the ability for cities to track property ownership and ensure timely occupancy of vacant units.
Just a few days ago Premier Christy Clark responded warning Robertson to carefully consider the consequences of these proposed changes to BC Property Transfer Taxes and urging the city of Vancouver to do more to address affordable housing.
For example, she says that the City of Vancouver could reduce civic fees and levies that quickly drive up the price of a new home. She also suggests better land-use planning to increase the supply, rather than trying to reduce the demand through new taxes.
What’s your opinion on the availability of affordable housing in Vancouver and even the prices of real estate in White Rock, Surrey and other Lower Mainland communities? We welcome your feedback!