Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

VANCOUVER – The city of Vancouver’s new empty homes tax is expected to bring in $30 million in revenue in its first year.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says $17 million has already been collected from owners of almost 8,500 properties that were determined to be vacant or under utilized for at least six months of the year.

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, requiring homeowners who do not live in or rent out their properties to pay a one per cent levy based on the assessed value of the home.

Robertson says the tax was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate.

The mayor says it’s unclear yet if the tax has increased rental accommodation, and better data collection methods are being developed for the city to monitor the impact of initiates like the tax more closely.

The median tax due is just under $10,000 and Robertson says anyone who doesn’t pay up will face fines and have the bill added to their property taxes next year.