Vancouver will be phasing in an empty homes tax rate hike of 25 per cent for each of the next three years in order to decrease the number of homes sitting empty and create more long-term rental stock.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart also asked city staff to use additional revenue created by the increase to focus on enforcement efforts and provide affordable housing for households earning less than $50,000 a year.
“While the ultimate goal is to add more pressure on empty homes to be filled, any additional revenues will now be used to provide housing for Vancouver’s most vulnerable residents,” he said.
The city says the empty homes tax program has created $39.7 million to fund affordable housing projects across the city since it launched in 2016.
An annual report shows that 70 per cent of properties paying the empty homes tax are condos worth $1.4 million. In 2018, there were 6,245 vacant properties overall, a reduction of 1,676 units since 2017.
The by-law change to confirm the new rate for 2020 will be brought to council at a future meeting.