May 28, 2015

The Affordable Housing Rally – 2

Worth bringing forward.

John Graham does the numbers:

  • Number of single family dwellings in the Greater Vancouver area: 949,565
  • Average sale price of a single family dwelling in April 2015: $1,406,426
  • Implied value of all single family dwellings: $1,335,492,904,690. ($1.34 trillion)
  • Number of people per single family dwelling: 2.6
  • Number of people whose assets decrease if property value is reduced by new taxation to increase affordability: 2,468,869
  • Number of votes at affordable housing rally: 400

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  1. Why are they applying the average value of homes in the City of Vancouver to the whole metro area? There’s no way the average price for the region is $1.4M.

    Also, less than 70% of homes are owner occupied. All of those, then some are interested in seeing prices go down. All the people looking to upsize their house are also interested in seeing prices go down. All the people looking at our economy getting hollowed out are interested in prices going down.

    Great analysis. Is John Graham a real estate agent?

  2. If there were 2,468,869 people in the region “whose assets decrease if property value is reduced by new taxation” then we wouldn’t be having this discussion because we would all be homeowners.

    I think perhaps a more thoughtful analysis of proposed new taxation is in order.

    Nice work with your calculator though:)

  3. I don’t know who John Graham is, but he lost credibility for me. He said 2.49 million people own part of a single family home in Vancouver. That number is obviously incorrect. The ENTIRE population of Greater Vancouver is only about 2.3 million. How can I take anything he says seriously?

  4. Yes, sorry about that — I mistakenly grabbed the “total private dwellings” number instead of the single family dwelling number ( But even when you reduce the number of single family dwellings to 350k, you’ll see that the picture is the same: almost a million people live in them, and almost half a trillion dollars in supposed real estate value. That’s what the affordability movement is up against. And no, I’m not in real estate. I’m actually a renter.

      1. The numbers vary by report and year. StatsCan 2011 shows 301k detatched homes; other reports show upwards of 350k, presumably to include the last 4 years of growth. As for the average price, those vary too. I was quoting the average sale price in April 2015 which is higher than the HPI or average assessed value but shows what’s actually happening in the market right now.

        The bottom line is that it doesn’t much matter which data you take; the message is still the same.

  5. The question is why do we not tax properties more and incomes less ? Many ( usually wealthy ) immigrants , all non-residents or even many long time locals / BC residents pay little income taxes as they do not work or do not derive incomes in BC.

    That would effectively monetize Vancouver’s status as a resort town and real estate investment destination !

    A major tax policy correction is in order here .. After carefully studying it obviously .

      1. Yea this proposal has merit as much cheating is going on today.

        Governments need to tax property transactions far more indeed for required revenue for increased services due to heavy immigration here such as healthcare and education / ESL ( see last teachers strike )

        Tax incomes less, and consumption far more, incl real estate consumption / use / speculation !

        1. How about having a relationship between Property Tax and income … if you have a large income, and expensive property you pay much more tax. If you have no income and expensive property, you pay the same or less tax (ie. for the ‘little old lady in Point Grey’). If you have property but do not file income tax (ie. not resident) you are assumed to be in the highest income bracket (like Pharmacare does if you can’t provide proof of income).

          PrIncome Tax?

          1. Incomes are already taxed far too high.

            Properties need to be taxed more as non-resident status is tough to measure and some seniors, many immigrants and most non-residents are quite affluent yet have no BC income.

            Far too many in our societies also pay far too little in taxes yet consume loads of services for free. Perhaps more services , perhaps education after grade 10, ESL, healthcare beyond very basic needs or transit needs far higher user fees / ie prices based on actual delivery cost associated with it ?

      1. If you take property more and if you gave a credit for people with PRs and Cad citizens. This would effectively tax foreigners only who do not vote.

      2. Many seniors are very wealthy, use huge healthcare yet pay next to nothing in taxes.

        Property taxes per $100,000 in value could go way up if income taxes are adjusted downwards to compensate.

        1. What about the many seniors are not very wealthy? Are you saying they should move out of their community where they lived 40 years or longer if they can’t afford to pay property taxes?

          1. I am saying use a credit not a tax deduction. So you would not need to earn income to benefit from it. If the credit was equal to the property tax then it would not cost a Canadian citizen or PR anything.

        2. Seniors can defer taxes. Anyone can also borrow with a line-of-credit or reverse mortgage on the equity on your home. Why should anyone get a break on their $2M house because of age ?

          As mentioned, governments should tax properties far more and incomes far less as many (wealthy) immigrants, all non-residents and many residents pay no income taxes here yet consume healthcare or education services. Healthcare is over 40% of the provincial budget. Either taxes are too low or spending too high for healthcare. Ditto with education / ESL (see last teacher strike).

          Residential real estate ownership is not taxed enough, yet incomes are taxed far too high. When will politicians understand that .. to fund transit, healthcare, education or policing in urban areas ?

  6. What if there were policies and projects that simply favoured principal residents and workers in the community vs investors. We already do that in a limited way with the homeowner grant. Expand that. Tweak the property transfer tax to favour residents, first-time buyers.

    A blanket policy that brings all prices down isn’t the only option.

    Whistler has many homes with restricted access (ownership only by people working in the community) and restricted equity appreciation. The rest of the market is unrestricted.

    1. That would effectively be a transfer from investors *and renters* to homebuyers. A lot of investment properties are rented out, so policies which favour homeownership for primary residences over homeownership for investment purposes are going to reduce rental supply.

      Our tax policy is already extremely biased against renters, I’d prefer it if we didn’t further that.

    2. Residents as evidenced by their tax filings .. Indeed

      Tax filings and real estate ownership need to be linked better !

  7. Statcan allows you to do comparisons between “City” and CMA “Census Metropolitan Area”

    Vancouver, CY British Columbia (Census subdivision)
    versus Vancouver (CMA) British Columbia (Census metropolitan area)

    Change geography 1 Change geography 2

    Population and dwelling counts

    Population in 2011 Census data footnote 1
    603,502 2,313,328
    Population in 2006 Census data footnote 1
    578,041 2,116,581
    2006 to 2011 population change (%)
    4.4 9.3
    Total private dwellings Census data footnote 2
    286,742 949,565
    Private dwellings occupied by usual residents Census data footnote 3
    264,573 891,336
    Population density per square kilometre
    5,249.1 802.5
    Land area (square km)
    114.97 2,882.55
    and much more

  8. . . . with too many eyes on the money, and not enough on sound city planning. In Toronto, civic officials were caught napping when the condo boom hit.

    Ditto Vancouver . . .

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