A Royal Bank of Canada study released this month ranks Vancouver’s housing market as the least affordable for any regional market ever recorded in Canada.
The costs of owning a home at today’s prices would have represented an astounding 85.2 per cent of a typical household’s income in the fourth quarter, the bank said in its Housing Trends and Affordability report.
The report called the Metro Vancouver’s rising home prices a “worrying trend” and explained that the phenomenon prompted the B.C. government to impose new and expanded initiatives to cool the market down.
Indeed, a wide swath of proposed new taxes prompted what some have started to call the beginnings of a tax revolt.
One proposed tax, the speculation tax, which would levy a tax on empty homes in specified parts of the province, caused so much unrest that the provincial government was forced to revise the proposed tax rates to ensure as much as possible that it would not be British Columbians that have to pay the tax, but rather owners of empty homes whose primary residence is in the rest of Canada or abroad.
The RBC report noted that “a main objective [of the speculation tax] is to increase housing supply by ‘unlocking’ units that sit empty most of the year.