Files for BC's New Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson Jul 18, 2017

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NorthReport
Files for BC's New Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson Jul 18, 2017

What Can We Expect from the NDP Housing Minister?

http://www.rew.ca/news/what-can-we-expect-from-the-ndp-housing-minister-...

NorthReport

‘Massive effort’ underway to create database that will shed light on Canada’s housing market

http://www.vancouversun.com/massive+effort+underway+create+database+that...

NorthReport

Tapping ‘Patient Capital’ to Fund Affordable Rental Housing

New models tap socially conscious investors seeking fair returns and a better community.

https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/07/26/Patient-Capital-Affordable-Rental-Hou...

NorthReport

Landlords were able to charge 3.7 % rent rate increase in 2017 in BC, while in 2016 they were stopped at a 2.9% increase, however when someone vacates their apartment the landlord often jacks up the rent by 10% or 15% because of the unawareness of the unsuspecting new tenants. WTF!

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Unawareness has nothing to do with it, NorthReport.

We surely all understand that if a landlord tells a tenant who's currently paying $1200/mth that starting immediately they'll be paying $1800/mth, that's a problem.  And rental increase guidelines address that problem.

But if an apartment is vacant then for a landlord to "hike" the rent doesn't mean a tenant gets gouged.  It's just a vacant apartment. 

If a prospective tenant views that apartment and doesn't feel it's worth $1800/mth then they won't sign the lease... right?  They're not suddenly "behind the 8-ball" or something -- it's just another thing that someone wants too much money for, and aren't we all equipped to deal with that?  It's no different from someone who wants to sell you their generic mountain bike for $1800.  No, thanks.

NorthReport
NorthReport
NorthReport

What Do We Mean By ‘Affordable Housing?’

If we’re to solve this crisis, we need to agree on what defines affordability, and for who.

 

https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/08/07/Affordable-Housing-BC/

NorthReport

Everytime someone moves, landlords get carte blanche to jack up the rents as much as they can I'm sure is the purpose of the rentalsman.

 

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Unawareness has nothing to do with it, NorthReport.

We surely all understand that if a landlord tells a tenant who's currently paying $1200/mth that starting immediately they'll be paying $1800/mth, that's a problem.  And rental increase guidelines address that problem.

But if an apartment is vacant then for a landlord to "hike" the rent doesn't mean a tenant gets gouged.  It's just a vacant apartment. 

If a prospective tenant views that apartment and doesn't feel it's worth $1800/mth then they won't sign the lease... right?  They're not suddenly "behind the 8-ball" or something -- it's just another thing that someone wants too much money for, and aren't we all equipped to deal with that?  It's no different from someone who wants to sell you their generic mountain bike for $1800.  No, thanks.

NorthReport
NorthReport
NorthReport

Come on Ms Robinson protect BC tenants and roll back these horrific increases that few can afford

https://www.straight.com/news/955601/bc-tenants-are-about-get-hit-larges...

JKR

NorthReport wrote:
Come on Ms Robinson protect BC tenants and roll back these horrific increases that few can afford
">https://www.straight.com/news/955601/bc-tenants-are-about-get-hit-larges...

What do you think the unintended consequences of rolling back rental increases would be?

NorthReport

Chinese Government Woos Local Politicians With UBCM Event

‘Highly irregular and inappropriate’ for foreign government to play convention role, says watchdog.

https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/09/13/Chinese-Government-Local-Politicians/

NorthReport

 

 

Everybody has their hand out it seems, but public libraries are valuable community resources. 

B.C. municipalities call on province to reverse cuts on funding for public libraries

https://www.straight.com/news/968411/bc-municipalities-call-province-rev...

NorthReport

Say what!

City of North Van council rejects ban on corporate, union donations

http://www.nsnews.com/news/city-of-north-van-council-rejects-ban-on-corp...

NorthReport

Rising Rents Are Pushing More Tenants Past the Breaking Point

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-26/rising-rents-are-push...

NorthReport

Giftwrapped Disaster: Greens Press NDP to Eliminate Homebuyer Program

‘Throwing more money into the market is not really the solution.’

 

The Tyee reported last week that the B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership remained a “featured Government of B.C. service” on the province’s website, even though former NDP housing critic David Eby had characterized it as “completely bizarre” while in opposition.

Launched by former Premier Christy Clark and then-former housing minister Rich Coleman in December 2016, the program loans first-time homebuyers up to $37,500, with no interest or payments required for five years, to help them afford a down payment on homes worth up to $750,000.

https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/10/27/greens-press-NDP-eliminate-homebuyer/

jerrym

Our different levels of government have allowed the current housing crisis to develop by making it so favourable for those who earn their income overseas to pay only property taxes here. 

Suppose you wanted buy an expensive house in a premium neighbourhood, such as Point Grey. If the house cost around $2 million, which is at the low end, then your household income would need to be around $300,000 at current interest rates with a 20 per cent down payment. Your household would pay $90,000 to $110,000 in income taxes each year.

On top of that, you would pay property taxes of around $6,000. And then you would pay various sales taxes and government fees or premiums. Not exactly chump change, but you’d be wealthy, so you could manage.

In return for that money, you would get to live in a beautiful, safe neighbourhood, with modest traffic, and social services of various kinds to support you — the latter of which keep Canadian society a peaceful, vibrant, and generally harmonious place.

Now imagine you could get the same thing, but not pay income taxes. You would pay roughly $6,000 in property taxes and you would pay sales taxes like everyone else, but otherwise little or nothing.

In effect, your household would be getting a tax subsidy of about $100,000. Every year. And if your property was worth more, then the subsidy would be even greater.

Pretty sweet deal, right? Well, if you’re using money accumulated or earned abroad, where low income taxes prevail or can be dodged, while you or your family live in Vancouver, then that’s the deal you get.

Is it any wonder that vast numbers of wealthy foreign individuals want to buy property in Vancouver?  Is it any wonder that we can’t build enough to meet that global elite demand?

Given our faulty tax system, all the talk about solving the housing crisis with “supply” measures is futile. We have been trying that strategy, hamster-like, for years — as developers have wanted — and it has failed.

It’s tempting to blame people who take advantage of this red carpet offer. But if you made your money in a capricious authoritarian country, you’d probably want to take the offer, too.

The problem is that governments have allowed this to happen on a mass scale. At a minimum, six to eight per cent of all housing in Vancouver has been bought on this basis, due to poorly designed investor immigration programs.

Wealthy investor immigrants paid an average annual income tax of $1,400, according to a 2014 government of Canada report. And governments continue to allow this to happen, because they have so far refused to implement a straightforward fix to our flawed tax framework: Introduce a large annual property surtax that can be offset by income taxes paid, with concessions given to older folks who don’t work anymore and those who have paid a lot of income tax in the past.

The logic is simple: If you’re wealthy and you want to live comfortably in Canada, you either pay your fair share in income taxes or you pay in property taxes. It can be one or the other, but you can’t dodge.

Sounds fair? Indeed, it is. It is so obviously fair that since the idea of a property surtax was introduced in January of 2016, not a single serious attempt has been made to criticize it. To do so would be to defend tax avoidance.

If the policy is so obviously fair, why hasn’t it been introduced? The best I can tell, there are some administrative kinks to deal with, and governments are concerned that such a move would reduce property prices, by curtailing foreign ownership, and this might lead to economic turbulence.

While I am sympathetic to such concerns, this is tantamount to saying that the B.C. economy is somehow dependent on tax avoidance. And the problem is that this will never change, and will likely worsen, unless we introduce the surtax. Ultimately, young working Vancouverites are subsidizing the global elite that is pushing them out of their childhood city — an incredibly toxic dynamic.

In 2010, luxury condo-flogger Bob Rennie said “Nobody wants to admit it, but Vancouver has become a resort town where rich foreigners live a few months of the year.” Well, people have awakened to that and they don’t like it.

The NDP was largely elected in Metro Vancouver: Housing was the top issue in the election and the NDP promised to tackle foreign speculation with a property surtax. This is still early days for the new government, and they should make sure to design the surtax properly. But a lot is at stake. They can either do the principled thing they were elected to do or they can sell out many of their supporters and miss a generational shot at fixing our housing market.

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-surtax-needed-to-bring-fai...

 

NorthReport

Brilliant article, thanks jerrym.

NorthReport

This shows what kind of representation you get when you vote right-wing. Ugh!

Clark, Wat met Hong Kong developers, while foreign investor debate roiled B.C.

 

 

http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/clark-wat-met-hong-kong-develope...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Introduce a large annual property surtax that can be offset by income taxes paid, with concessions given to older folks who don’t work anymore and those who have paid a lot of income tax in the past.

Property taxes are based on the estimated value of your property, not the estimated size of your wallet.  Property tax pays for roads and sewers and fire trucks; it's not a tool for wealth redistribution.

But if this tax goes ahead, I hope they're honest enough to call it a Head Tax.

Pogo Pogo's picture

All taxes play multiple roles. Property taxes included. The goal is coming up with the best 'cocktail' that achieves the goals of fairness, minimizes negative affects on the economy and provides revenue for government programs. 

jerrym

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Introduce a large annual property surtax that can be offset by income taxes paid, with concessions given to older folks who don’t work anymore and those who have paid a lot of income tax in the past.

Property taxes are based on the estimated value of your property, not the estimated size of your wallet.  Property tax pays for roads and sewers and fire trucks; it's not a tool for wealth redistribution.

But if this tax goes ahead, I hope they're honest enough to call it a Head Tax.

Introducing supposed racial discrimination into this is a red herring. My wife is Filipino. My children are mixed race. They love this proposal. Many middle and working class Asian-born Canadians in Vancouver are fed up subsidizing the wealthy through our  current tax system because they see it as creating a tax system that would deal with the problem of those who earn their income overseas or those who hide their income in tax havens, the latter of which are mostly born in Canada. 

 

NorthReport

SFU study tries to sum up everything we know about "foreign buyers" and Vancouver real estate

 

Gordon argues these three areas of research contain enough evidence to prove that foreign money from China has driven Vancouver’s real-estate market to a point where it has detached from the local economy.

In a section on home buyers, Gordon points to a study by Yan that looked at 172 West Side properties sold between August 2014 to February 2015. Yan found that 66 percent of those homes went to buyers that had “non-anglicized Chinese names”.

Gordon also describes statistics from Macdonald Realty as supporting Yan’s findings. In 2014, for example, 70 percent of properties worth more than $3 million that Macdonald Realty sold went to buyers from Mainland China. For homes worth between $1 million and $3 million, that number was 21 percent.

“Taken together, we have the following case,” Gordon writes in summary. “Beginning in the 1980s, Canadian governments effectively began to encourage large transfers of wealth from abroad into the Vancouver real estate market. These flows of wealth increased the demand for housing in Vancouver, especially single-detached housing which was popular among wealthy migrants. This allowed prices to rise above what local incomes could justify, even in these early days.

“This dynamic intensified greatly in the last few years for three reasons,” Gordon continues. “First, China has become much wealthier as its economy has grown dramatically in recent decades, and a long build-up in the property market in Hong Kong...allowed residents there to ‘cash out’ and buy housing here. Second, people with this increased purchasing power in China have had stronger incentives to move abroad since the start of Xi Jinping’s tenure in 2012, since he has vowed to crack down on corruption (which can sometimes be aimed capriciously). Third, many elite citizens in China fear that the economic foundations of the country are unstable, and this has produced a massive rush of wealth out of the country in the past year or so. It is this surge in foreign demand that has led Vancouver housing prices to become so detached from, and unaffordable to, local incomes.”

The paper does explore other factors in some detail. For example, Gordon also looked at geography and density, more general home-buying trends, and financial elements such as mortgage and interest rates, among other factors. In determining the influence of foreign money, he investigated whether or not these other forces could account for the market’s rapid increases. Gordon concluded that they could not.

In a foreword to the paper, Gordon emphasized that race was not a factor in arriving at conclusions presented there.

“Before proceeding, the issue of ‘racism’ should be addressed,” he writes. “This report puts a lot of the blame for the housing crisis on foreign buyers, and buyers from China in particular. It does so because this is where the evidence points, not because of some anti-Chinese animus. The problem is that the money is foreign, and that it is sufficient to seriously distort the housing market, not that it is Chinese money.”

In April 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family detached home on Vancouver’s East Side was $1.35 million, according to the Real Estate Board of Metro Vancouver. Homes on the city’s West Side rose to a benchmark price of $3.2 million.

https://www.straight.com/news/694586/sfu-study-tries-sum-everything-we-k...

NorthReport

 

NPA opposition to short-term rental rules around Airbnb could yield political benefits

https://www.straight.com/news/995216/npa-opposition-short-term-rental-ru...

NorthReport

Vancouver highrise to segregate entrances for condo owners and social housing residents

https://www.straight.com/news/995431/vancouver-highrise-segregate-entran...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Introducing supposed racial discrimination into this is a red herring.

Oh, sorry, Jerrym.  I thought this was to deal with "non-Canadians" hiding their wealth in "non-Canadian" countries with low income taxes (though, to be fair, the taxes could be triple ours and Canada still wouldn't see any of it). 

Is it about Canadian citizens somehow?  I kind of figured you were talking about Chinese property investors -- BC folk have been talking about them for a long time.  Let me know if they're exempt from this.

Pogo Pogo's picture

The biggest foreign ownernship of residential property in Canada is by American's.  

NorthReport

Right-wing Liberal and Conservative governments will never solve the housing crisis We need some progressive governments to address the issue

 

 

 

 

https://www.straight.com/news/998271/popular-solution-provinces-housing-crisis-proposed-union-report