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Housing Vacancy and Housing Supply

July 11, 2016

Today BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced the Province will allow the City of Vancouver the statutory ability to proceed with a vacancy tax on empty homes. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson proposed the tax as a means to free up rental supply and generate revenue for new housing. UDI agrees with the Finance Minister’s statement made during Monday’s announcement at Vancouver City Hall, that this is ultimately about supply.

While the implementation of this tax might free up some rental supply, much more needs to be done by both levels of government to ensure that a mix of housing supply across the spectrum is addressed. “Taxes alone will never solve our affordability problems” says Anne McMullin, President of the Urban Development Institute. “We need stronger zoning for more homes, particularly near transit lines. We need to build more supply for families, for first-time buyers, and for renters.”

Across British Columbia there are currently 69,500 homes pending a zoning, re-zoning, development or combined application. Municipalities must streamline applications and reduce processing delays for new housing supply. This will have a far greater impact on affordability than imposing new taxes.

Note: UDI President & CEO Anne McMullin and Chair Jon Stovell are available for interviews.

Media Contact: Communications Manager Gavin Duffus gduffus@udi.org or 604-661-3033

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