New figures show a provincial tax designed to curb speculation and improve housing affordability raised $901,000 and $318,000 from property owners in North Saanich and Sidney in 2019.
The two municipalities with a combined population of just under 23,000 (as of 2016 census) contributed to 18.4 per cent (or just $1.21 million) of the $6.5 million that speculation and vacancy tax raised from residential property owners in the Capital Regional District (CRD) with a population of 383,360 (as of 2016 census). The contribution of the Saanich Peninsula goes even higher when including the largest community, Central Saanich and its population of 16,814. Properties subject to the speculation tax in that community brought in $155,000, bringing the total to $1.374 million.
Oak Bay with a population of just over 18,094 (as of 2016 census) was another small community that made a large contribution with property owners paying $693,000.
Properties in Saanich, the CRD’s largest municipality whose population of 114,145 is roughly five times larger than the combined population of North Saanich and Sidney and more than six times larger than the population of Oak Bay, contributed $1.68 million in reflecting the higher-end, many of them beach-fronting, properties found in those smaller communities.
The province-wide haul was $88 million for the year.
Affected property owners have been paying the tax since 2018 with revenue supporting programs designed to create affordable housing in the five regional districts where the tax applies, Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Central Okanagan, Nanaimo and the Capital Region.
Under the current rates, foreign owners and satellite families pay two per cent of assessed property values. British Columbians, and other Canadian citizens or permanent residents, who are not members of a satellite family, pay 0.5 per cent.
The provincial government exempts property owners who either live in their respective home as their principal residence or rent out their property for at least three months of the year. Homes not used as principal residences must be rented for at least six months per year to be eligible for exemption.
For the second year, more than 99.9 per cent of British Columbians did not pay the tax, according to a provincial briefing.
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