Housing & homelessness

The case for a progressive property tax

Nov 2, 2016
In 1993, then-Finance Minister Glen Clark tabled a controversial BC Budget, featuring a wide range of tax changes. A one-point increase in the provincial sales tax was the largest measure, tempered by the introduction of a refundable sales tax credit. Most of the budget measures increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Up went the… View Article

Rising housing prices fuel the growing gap

Sep 19, 2016
Vancouver is now a “city of millionaires”, according to Environics’ 2016 Wealthscapes report: In B.C., the red-hot real estate market fueled a rise in average net worth, producing Canada’s first “city of millionaires”: Vancouver. In 2015, the average net worth of Vancouver households hit $1,036,202 – an impressive 7.1 percent increase over the previous year. You are forgiven if… View Article

The BC economy’s unbalanced and inequitable growth

Jul 22, 2016
Skyrocketing property transfer tax revenues have been in the news the past few days, but the bigger story, well-documented in a recent Huffington Post article, is how dependent the entire BC economy is on the unsustainable and socially damaging housing market. It is instructive to reread the 2012 BC Jobs Plan to see how far… View Article

Affordable housing and its discontents

May 19, 2016
The public and media response to my new study on affordable housing  exceeded expectations. I anticipated some really strong pushback against my proposals, because they’re pretty radical in today’s context where private sector development is taken for granted, and global capital flows into local real estate go largely unquestioned. By and large, the report was covered… View Article

Housing budget? Not so much.

Feb 17, 2016
It was supposed to be the housing budget, with action to address a top issue facing the province. Today’s banner headline from The Globe and Mail (“Balanced BC budget aims to cool hot real estate market”) implies that they did take concrete measures. But if you read the budget, there is not much there relative… View Article