Over 98% of Vancouver homeowners declare for Empty Homes Tax

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Vancouver has logged a total of 183,911 declarations for its empty home tax for 2017, the city government announced on Wednesday. The number accounts for nearly all (98.85%) property owners in the coastal city.

There were 8,481 unoccupied or underutilised properties in 2017, most of which were condominiums (60.6%). Single-family residential properties accounted for 33.55% and multi-family/other properties for 5.95%.

The neighbourhoods of West End (735) and Shaughnessy (213) tied for the highest percentage of unoccupied or underutilised properties at 8% each.

The government introduced the measure last year as it sought to boost rental supply and encourage proper use of housing. The declaration deadline was originally set for 2 February, but was later pushed to 5 March.

“Vancouver housing needs to be for homes first, not just treated as a commodity,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We brought in an Empty Homes Tax because Vancouver has a near-zero vacancy rate and many people are struggling to find a place to rent.

Those who failed to declare will have their properties deemed vacant and will be subject to the tax at a rate of 1% of the property’s 2017 assessed taxable value. The owners will also be fined $250 for the non-declaration.

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