Why Vancouver homeowners are begging to be taxed

The city's housing prices continue to outpace wages, population growth despite new taxes

Jun.June 02, 2018 06:16 PM

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay)

Vancouver’s housing market is so off-the-charts, some homeowners are asking to be taxed.

“I would like to see a correction to sober up this whole place,” one resident, Rob Welsh, told the New York Times. “If I got to lose 200 or 300 grand to keep the kids and the future of this place, so be it.”

The provincial government has introduced a 20 percent foreign-buyer tax, and new taxes on second homes, families whose income is made abroad and any home worth more than $3 million. That’s all in addition to municipal taxes like an empty house tax. But these measures still haven’t cooled the market; condo prices are up 16 percent compared to last year, and 60 percent over the past three years.

Some say, Vancouver is the victim of its own success: “Unbeknownst to many people in the local population, Vancouver has been sold as a subsidized resort town and retirement community to the world,” professor Josh Gordon told the Times. “We are now seeing the culmination of that dynamic.”

Others point to the city’s zoning, which favors low-density single-family development, and traditionally high income taxes.

“The message we have sent the world is, ‘Come and buy our real estate, but do not try to make a living here,’” said economist Tom Davidoff to the Times. “Mission accomplished.” [NYT]Erin Hudson

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