Vancouver

Move To This Part of Vancouver To Avoid The New Real Estate Vacancy Tax

Move To This Part of Vancouver To Avoid The New Real Estate Vacancy Tax

You get a Vancouver address, live in one of the city’s nicest neighborhoods, and use most of the city’s resources– but technically you don’t live in the City of Vancouver. We’re talking about The University Endowment Lands (UEL), an area 1/10th the size of Vancouver that consumes a large percentage of the city’s coastline, but is administered independently. This means that despite having a Vancouver address, homes there asre exempt from the recent vacancy tax.

Uh…What?

The UEL is unincorporated land, and administered directly by the province. It receives many of its services from the City of Vancouver under contract, but has no elected municipal representation. Annual property taxes are roughly 30% lower in UEL than in the city of Vancouver. Great for real estate investors in the UEL, since property values there are really high.

Property Values

Speaking of property values being really high, the UEL boasts some of the highest average home price in Greater Vancouver Area (GVA). The average UEL property value is $6,764,976, over 635% higher than the rest of the GVA. In case you’re curious, that would make the average annual vacancy fee a little over $67,000. I can see why they would place an arbitrary boundary to prevent rules passed in Vancouver from impacting property values.

Foreign Buyers In UEL

The UEL is one of the most desired neighbourhoods in Vancouver, so naturally it has attracted well heeled foreign buyers. A study conducted by Andy Yan, an urban planner and adjunct professor at UBC, determined that 88% of homes over $5 million in the neighbourhood belonged to foreign buyers. Since the average home in the UEC is well over that number, it’s probably a decent assumption to make that the majority of homes purchased in this neighbourhood are purchased by foreign buyers.

What’s Wrong With Foreign Buyers?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with foreign buyers, but the chances of them living in the homes the buy are fairly slim. Note, foreign buyers aren’t the same as recent immigrants. Foreign buyers use homes as an investment, for the purposes of smurfing, or just a vacation home. None of these issues by themselves is a problem in most other cities, but in Vancouver it’s a little different. Space is at a premium, and locals are struggling to find a place to live. Nevermind the actual affordability issues.

The lack of vacancy tax and lower property taxes in the UEL highlights BC’s inability to install a comprehensive plan to tackle housing issues. A large part of BC’s real estate bubble is the number of loopholes that are intentionally legislated in. It gives the appearance of action, but are really just a way to shut people up while allowing the privileged few to continue to operate just out of reach.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Dave Calhoud 11 months ago

    It really is a crap show in Vancouver. This is the equivalent of Rosedale not being incorporated so rich people don’t have to pay as high of taxes.

  • Reply
    Ike 11 months ago

    I knew that UEL had it’s own services, but no idea they paid a different tax rate. Usually the suburbs have higher taxes than the city, this is very strange.

  • Reply
    mcain 11 months ago

    This article is wrong. The tax applies in the GVRD and the GVRD (now Metro Vancouver) includes UEL (also knows as “Electoral Area A”).

    • Reply
      Better Dwelling 11 months ago

      Actually we confirmed with the COV, UEL, and the province. I think you might be thinking of the foreign buyer tax, not the vacancy tax.

      • Reply
        mcain 11 months ago

        My mistake, thanks for correcting. But any criticism of UEL lands could also be applied to any other city here and none of them (other than Vancouver) has elected to put in a vacancy tax.

  • Reply
    Avoiding the Vancouver Vacancy Tax | Price Tags 11 months ago

    […] The Better Dwelling.com folks  describe it here:  “You get a Vancouver address, live in one of the city’s nicest neighborhoods, and use most of the city’s resources– but technically you don’t live in the City of Vancouver. We’re talking about The University Endowment Lands (UEL), an area 1/10th the size of Vancouver that consumes the majority of the city’s coastline, but is administered independently. This means that despite having a Vancouver address, homes there are exempt from the recent vacancy tax”. […]

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