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Government Recalling Legislation to Pass Vacancy Tax Provisions in Vancouver Charter

Media Statement: July 11th, 2016
Weaver responds to Vacancy Tax
For Immediate Release

Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head, today responded to the provincial government’s announcement that the House will be reconvened in two weeks in order to pass new legislation concerning the overheated real estate market, including the legislation required for Vancouver to bring in a vacancy tax.

“This government is taking a hands off approach on the most pressing issue facing British Columbians. With this rushed session they are introducing new chaos into an unstable situation. What will the impacts be of one municipality in a connected region acting alone? My guess is that no one really knows.

“This piecemeal approach being taken risks making things worse. What is needed is provincial leadership that brings forward thoughtful solutions for all British Columbians – solutions that ensure that our young professionals and small business owners aren’t simply priced out of the real estate market.

“Earlier this year I pointed out to government that there are at least three dimensions to the issue of affordability and speculation in BC’s housing market:

  1. incentivized government speculation;
  2. a preponderance of vacant homes, and
  3. non-enforcement of illegal realtor transactions.

The government continues to ignore a speculative ‘bare trust’ tax loophole to remains open and allows for the avoidance of paying property transfer tax.


Media contact:
Mat Wright
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 250 216 3382
Twitter: @MatVic

Background Information:

Offering Practical Solutions to Vancouver’s Affordability Crisis

Affordability & Metro Vancouver’s Potential Housing Bubble

Let’s close a tax loophole so big you could drive a bus through it

One Comment

  1. July 25, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    A $1.3M house in E. Vancouver represents $1M in land and 0.3M in building. It’s not a housing affordability issue it’s a land affordability issue. More precisely it’s an issue of having too few places to build. Some would say that it’s because Vancouver is bounded by ocean, mountains, and US border, but that misses the point. There is a scarcity and it’s intentionally created to generate tax revenue. Cities make their growth as intentionally slow as possible. Where I grew up in Kerrisdale, there were 5 acre lots, then 66′ wide lots, then 33′ wide lots, some are now multifamily with shared walls. Where will it all end up? Travelling around the world I notice that there is a limit to what people are willing to walk up which results in around 5 storey walkups in New York, Shanghai, Paris, London, Amsterdam, New Delhi, etc. It’s clear where we are going and in Vancouver there will be a lot of unnecessary environmental devastation getting there. What if we skip all the incremental steps and just say that the city and province will create enough 5 storey space available for affordable housing. Costs them nothing to do……….but here’s the rub – it undermines their real estate tax revenues by removing the artificial scarcity that keeps the gold coming into the coffers. In conclusion, we should address affordable housing by creating free building space.