Homes in BC are mostly owned by public sector workers in municipal, provincial, and federal governments, according to two experts citing Statistics Canada data.
Using housing data from 2019, Dr. Andrey Pavlov, professor of Real Estate Finance at SFU, and Paul Sullivan, principal and regional leader at Ryan ULC, showed that the “majority of BC homeowners are employed at higher incomes, working at some level of government in Canada.”
The pair is pushing back against the findings of a study released by UBC academics called “The Prevalence of Low-Income Tax Payments Among Owners of Expensive Homes in Vancouver and Toronto,” where the authors used census data from 2016 to determine that the owners of the top 5% of Greater Vancouver’s most expensive and luxurious homes pay relatively little in income tax.
🚨New study with PhD candidates Craig Jones and Paul_B_Akaabre forthcoming in Canadian Tax Journal 🚨. Key fact: Homes in top 5% of value in Greater Vancouver in 2018: median value of $3.7 million, but median owner paid income taxes of just $15,800. https://t.co/yUodHBZL0B
— Tom Davidoff (@TomDavidoff) October 25, 2022
According to Statistics Canada, 70% of homeowners filing taxes in BC were employed in 2017, and the largest share of owners worked in the public administration sector, ie federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
Data from the 2016 Census of Population also show that higher homeownership rates in Canada are generally associated with higher income.
This table from Statistics Canada shows that property values are 6.8 times greater than income values in BC, even higher for Vancouver (9.1.)
“Governments, universities, and some lobby groups seem focused on confiscating people’s home equity through additional taxation and adding more red tape rather than enabling more homes to be built easily and affordably, that would also grow our economy,” said Pavlov.
“Vancouver single-family property owners already pay the highest property taxes in Canada, well above and beyond the quality of the services they receive,” said Pavlov.
“Current government policies prevent people from earning and keeping a good income. Besides, homes are bought based on lifetime earnings and savings, so the UBC research that compares one year of income to the value of the home is irrelevant. One needs to compare the LIFETIME income (and taxes paid) to the value of the home. Looking at just one year is like using your current speed only to determine how far you’ve driven all day,” said Pavlov.