Residential Market Commentary - week of November 14, 2016

Nov 14, 2016, 10:31 AM by Maria Broekhof
Vancouver is turning its attention away from home buyers and toward home owners in an effort to pry open some affordable living space in the city’s staggeringly expensive housing market.

The latest move is another punishing tax designed, we are told, to get people in to Vancouver’s ever growing stock of empty houses.   The current rental vacancy rate in Vancouver is less than 1.0%.  Some reports say there are upwards of 30 thousand vacant and under-occupied homes in Vancouver.

The proposed tax would be 1.0% of the value of any empty, non-principal residence.  It would be levied annually on homes that are vacant more than six months of the year and that are not rented out for at least 30 days at a time.

The tax goes to city council this week.  If approved it will take force in 2017 with first payments collected in 2018.   

In Ontario, the provincial government has promised steps to make things easier for first-time buyers, particularly in the expensive Greater Toronto Area.  Despite its, seemingly, unquenchable thirst for revenue Ontario has promised to stay away from punitive taxes.  Many market watchers expect the government will provide some sort of relief from the much loathed land transfer tax.  

We should know by the end of today (Monday).