City of Vancouver to Collect $30M from Empty Homes Tax

Steve Saretsky -

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the city expects to collect $30M in revenue from the city’s empty homes tax this year. The empty homes tax, which fines homeowners 1% of the assessed value if homes are left vacant (a home not occupied or rented for at least 6 months of the year), has already collected $17M in taxes this year and hopes to collect the remaining $13M in the coming months.

The median amount of tax paid was $9,900, though taxed amounts varied from $1,500 up to more than $250,000.

Per a tweet from the Mayor’s twitter account, “1,200 were declared vacant by the owner. 2,100 failed to declare, and they are deemed vacant. 5,200 properties were exempt.”

Empty homes Vancouver
Empty homes per city of Vancouver

Official numbers for the 2017 tax year suggest homeowners might not be truthfully declaring property status. Areas widely believed to be empty, including Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale reported incredibly low numbers of empty homes. Of course, there is also a long list of exemptions granted by the city of Vancouver.

However, despite the exemptions, the $30M of revenues will outpace the city’s estimated $7.4M annual budget to enforce the tax. Don’t be surprised to see those costs climb with possible legal disputes.

The revenue collected this year will cover the implementation of the new tax, with net proceeds reinvested into affordable housing.

Join the Monday Newsletter

Every Monday morning you'll receive a short and entertaining round-up of news on the Vancouver & Canadian Real Estate markets.

"*" indicates required fields

The Canadian Economy

Steve Saretsky -

Happy Monday Morning! We got a string of new data this past week confirming inflation in consumer goods, and housing are proving to be more than transitory. Canada’s consumer price index continued to drift higher with prices hitting an 18 year high, up 4.7% from last October. The recent floods in BC...

Steve Saretsky -

The calls for impending interest rate hikes continues. CIBC’s chief economist, Benjamin Tal, was out recently suggesting the Bank of Canada could hike its benchmark interest rate at least six times beginning in early 2022. “I think there is a risk of getting into the market at today’s rates,” noted Tal....

Steve Saretsky -

The BC Government announced it is looking at several cooling measures for the housing market in 2022. They have highlighted two measures. The first is an end to the blind bidding process, and the other is a mandatory “cooling off period” which will allow any buyer a 7 day recession...

Steve Saretsky -

The Bank of Canada continues to slowly drain liquidity after flooding the system with a firehose of cash during the pandemic. Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem announced the end of Canada’s QE program (also known as money printing). Furthermore, in Macklems words, “We expect to begin increasing our policy...

Steve Saretsky -

Consumer price inflation ripped higher in September, surging 4.4% year-over-year, the fastest pace of price increases in 18 years. Let’s discuss this further. We have an inflation problem and the Bank of Canada remains of the view that inflation will be transitory. Although they really can’t say otherwise, for if...

Get the Saretsky Report to your email every month

The Saretsky Report. December 2022