Are real estate speculators good for Vancouver?
This week's article in the Sun about a proposed speculator tax is truly odd. The piece begins:
The Lower Mainland housing market might be cooling off these days. But glittering highrise condos continue to sprout up across downtown Vancouver.
Given the region's housing crunch, one would assume that locals would quickly snapping up the units to live.
But that's not always the case. A quick scan of some residential highrises after dark reveals that, in many downtown condos, the lights are always off.
Mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson has proposed a speculator tax that would discourage investors from buying and holding the roughly 18,000 empty properties iun the city.
The Sun doesn't like this idea saying that:
This penalty against speculators represents another blatant tax grab -- one that could sully the city's reputation.
Penalizing real-estate buyers, local or not, would tell the world that Metro Vancouver is hostile to outside investment.
And, given the role that construction and housing play in the regional economy, this is something that British Columbia can ill afford.
But anyone who actually lives in Vanouver knows that the real problem with the City is that it is fundamentally unaffordable. Fixing that problem will bring real long term stability to this city. A city full of empty condos lining empty downtown streets serving the interests of speculators is not in the interest of those of us who live here.