According to a new City of Vancouver report, the number of homes in Vancouver that are either vacant or occupied by temporary and foreign residents almost doubled in the last 15 years.

Written by Gil Kelley, general manager of planning, urban design, and sustainability, the report indicates that there were 25,495 properties that fell under these categories in 2016. The figure represents a 98% increase from the 2001 level of 12,885 homes.

Kelley cited Statistics Canada data taken on Census day on May 10, 2016, which showed that 21,820 homes were empty, and 3,675 homes were used by temporary and foreign residents. Out of the 25,495 homes, 60 percent or 15,280 were apartment units.

The new empty homes tax imposes a levy of 1% of the assessed value of unoccupied or under-utilized properties. The first tax year is 2017 and vacant homes that are not rented for at least six continuous months are subject to the levy.

While no one can argue against the stated goals of the new tax, according to the Vancouver Sun’s Dan Fumano the whole experiment may be turning into “a money pit” with the cost of implementing the tax coming in at $2.7 million more than anticipated.

Last modified: July 4, 2017

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