The city of Vancouver has been especially busy this month. Just last week the city announced the empty homes tax had generated $39.4 million in revenue during the 2018 tax year, which helped increase the overall number of tenanted properties by 7%.

The nearly $40M in additional tax revenues to city coffers could swell further. Just a few days ago the city also proposed an 8.2% property tax increase for residential homes in 2020. If council passes the city budget as proposed, it would mean an estimated increase of $354 for the City of Vancouver’s portion of the property tax bill on the median single-family home, from $3,809 to $4,163. It would be the largest increase in more than a decade.

Source: CBC

A special meeting is scheduled on Dec. 3 for members of the public to speak to council about the budget.

On a more positive note, the city announced today it has approved a series of recommendations that will enable rental apartments to be developed faster, and in more areas of the city. Approved measures include rental-only zoning, allowing up to six storeys in commercial zones, and a new family-friendly housing pilot program for four to six storey buildings close to schools, parks and shops.

The City will implement rental only zoning for the first time, allowing six-storey rental buildings in commercial districts not already covered by community plans. Additionally, rental development in these areas will no longer be required to go through a rezoning process, so it will create a more streamlined and predictable process for developers and communities.  Rental zoning allowing six-storey rental buildings are in red below (C-2 zoning).

city of Vancouver rental zoning
New Rental only zoning (red lines)

The zones run predominantly along parts of Kingsway, Fraser, Main and include pockets at West 41st Avenue and Arbutus Street, sections of Dunbar Street and areas of West Fourth and West 10th avenues.

In summary this will help streamline and shorten the time it takes to get rental building permits approved. It could potentially shorten the process by a full year. It should also provide a small boost to land values in these new rental only areas.

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