Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson released the following statement this week:
"This week’s latest numbers from BC Assessment once again demonstrate the stark and alarming ways that our region’s housing market is divorced from local incomes. Despite Vancouver continuing to lead the country in economic growth, BC Assessment’s numbers highlight the pressing need for bold action from the Provincial and Federal governments to make housing more affordable.
"The average price of a detached home sold within the City of Vancouver has surpassed $2.5 million, but runaway price growth in recent years has also been seen across all forms of housing and in municipalities throughout Metro Vancouver. Far too many families on modest incomes cannot afford to live in our city or even in this region, which has enormous consequences for Vancouver’s economy and quality of life.
"At Vancouver City Hall, we’re continuing to use every available resource to get new affordable housing built for those who need it most, but this week’s BC Assessment numbers only underscore the urgency of a combination of reasonable and responsible actions that must be taken by the BC and Federal governments.
"A speculation tax would help slow down the practice of flipping houses, which treats housing as a commodity and intensifies the price escalation. A luxury housing tax would ensure that the very wealthiest buyers or investors pay an added price. Both of these taxes would raise new funds to make housing more affordable for those on low and modest incomes.
"We also need far better tracking of data on international investment and absentee ownership from both the federal and provincial governments, and a substantially expanded commitment at all levels of government to invest in new affordable housing throughout Metro Vancouver.
"Vancouver must remain a city that people of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels can afford to call home—and it’s time for strong government action to protect that."