Vancouver edges closer to tax on vacant homes
With a mayoral election looming there could be consensus on the hot topic of vacant housing in Vancouver. The idea of a tax on those who buy property in the city and leave it vacant was proposed by candidate Meena Wong who moved here 34 years ago from Hong Kong. She may not be the favourite to win the election but her ideas have appealed to those concerned about rising prices in the city and foreign investors’ role in the hot market conditions. Now other mayoral candidates have expressed interest in the idea, although they suggest more data would be required to get a clear picture of the situation. The chief economist for the BC Real Estate Association says there are a lot of unanswered questions about the idea and is not sure that it would yield much in the way of funding for affordable housing; a key part of the proposal. A scheme in London, England which allows councils to charge a 50 per cent premium on vacant properties after two years has seemingly done little to dissuade foreign investors leaving property dormant.