The deadline for residents to submit their Empty Homes Tax declaration has now come and gone with a total of 183,911 property declarations being submitted – or 98.8% of all applicable properties in Vancouver, the city said on Wednesday.
As this was the first year of implementation of the tax, the city said the findings from these declarations provide an important baseline for the City to compare all future results and better understand how the tax is influencing the behaviours of property owners.
“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.
There were 177,562 occupied residential properties (declared principal residence and declared tenanted), 8,481 unoccupied/under-utilized residential properties (declared vacant, declared exempt and undeclared/deemed vacant), and 2,132 undeclared residential properties, as a result of this process.
A total of 8,481 residential properties were declared or deemed to be unoccupied/under-utilized for more than 180 days in 2017.
This figure not only includes properties that were declared vacant, but also properties that claimed one of the various exemptions to the tax.
Properties can be eligible for an exemption based on a number of reasons, including if the property was undergoing renovation or redevelopment, title transferred during the year, or the owner was residing in a hospital, long term or supportive care facility.
Properties that were undeclared at the March 5 deadline are also included in the number of unoccupied/under-utilized residential properties. These undeclared properties have been deemed vacant and are therefore subject to the Empty Homes Tax.
Declared and deemed vacant properties will be issued a Vacancy Tax bill in mid-March with payment due by April 16, 2018.
The majority of the 8,481 unoccupied/under-utilized properties are condominiums, which account for almost 61% of the total number.
Single-family residential properties account for 33.5 per cent and multi-family/other properties for 5.9%
Aligning with the high density of condos in the downtown core, the largest number of unoccupied/under-utilized properties was recorded in Downtown Vancouver.
The West End and Shaughnessy recorded the highest percentages of unoccupied properties.