BC has now expanded the speculation and vacancy tax to Squamish, as well as Lions Bay, North Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, and Lake Cowichan. The tax will eliminate speculative real-estate practices and turn empty housing into homes for people, Province says.
“People in our province expect housing to be used as homes, not investments for speculators. The speculation and vacancy tax is making sure homes are available for people, not left empty,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance. “That’s why we’re bringing the benefits of this tax to even more communities, to ensure more people have the homes they need.”
Property owners in these munipalities will need to declare in early 2024, based on the use of their property in 2023.
For residential property owners who are not currently using their property, there are opportunities to still be eligible for an exemption next year. For example, owners who rent their home six or more months each year, for at least a month at a time, may be eligible. People who use their property as a principal home, and pay their taxes in B.C., are also eligible for exemption.
An estimated 48,000 residential property owners in these new areas will declare for the first time, starting January 2024.
“The SVT expansion is part of B.C.’s Homes for People plan. The plan will deliver more homes that people need in a shorter timeframe and build more vibrant communities throughout B.C. The SVT has helped turn approximately 20,000 empty condos into homes for people in Metro Vancouver. The expansion will help bring more homes to communities struggling with low vacancy rates,” BC says.
SVT revenue goes back into regions where the tax applies.
Since 2018, the SVT has raised more than $313 million to help build new, more affordable types of housing, province claims. During the same period through the Homes for B.C. and the Homes for People plans, more than $3.9 billion, including the $313 million raised through the SVT, has been allocated for new housing in those same communities. The tax will now help build more affordable housing for people in these new SVT areas, BC says.