BC speculation and vacancy tax nets $115M in its first year

Revenue will be used in improving affordable housing access and supply

BC speculation and vacancy tax nets $115M in its first year

British Columbia’s speculation and vacancy tax generated an estimated $115 million in its first year, the provincial ministry reported last month.

The figure was considerably higher than the initial $87-million estimate cited in the 2019 provincial budget.

Said revenue came about partly due to high assessment values in the province’s housing market, which posted a larger-than-expected average of $1.62 million.

Finance Minister Carole James hailed the tax as a major factor in improving rental supply, with empty properties being used as housing. She said that the collected funds will be used to address the long-running affordability crisis by improving housing access and supply.

“The speculation and vacancy tax was designed to make sure foreign owners, satellite families and people who use local services without paying income tax in B.C. contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy in this province,” James stated in a news release, as quoted by Star Vancouver.

A significant proportion of the 12,029 who paid the tax by July 2 were foreign owners (4,485 taxpayers), the Ministry added.

This was followed by satellite families (3,241 individuals), BC residents (2,410), and non-BC Canadians (1,555). The final “other” classification, which encompassed assets owned by corporations or trusts, had 238 taxpayers.

The Ministry noted that taxed residences were approximately 46% more expensive than exempted houses situated in the taxable areas.