The city of Vancouver released a report updating the results for the empty homes tax. Per the report, the city generated $39.4 million in revenue during the 2018 tax year. The tax captured 1989 vacant properties (not including those that were exempt) in 2018, that’s down 22% from last year when the tax punished 2538 homeowners.

Number of homes declared empty.

When we break the results down further, we can see the largest number of empty homes were concentrated in the Downtown core. There were 1453 vacant and exempt properties in Downtown Vancouver. A good chunk of those units were exempt due to strata bylaws which restrict rentals. No surprise there.

Also not surprising to see that the Shaughnessy neighbourhood had the highest percentage of empty homes at 7% of the neighbourhoods total housing stock. Probably still a conservative number if you take a hard look around.

Percentage of empty homes by neighbourhood

It’s hard to say how much of an impact the empty homes tax is having, the results seem mediocre at best. However, the city, which is grappling with an extremely low vacancy rate hovering near 1%, found the number of properties deemed tenanted jumped by 7% year-over-year. My conversations with property management companies in the city also suggest the rental market has softened, particularly for detached houses. This is welcoming news after several years of double digit rent price growth.


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