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Op-Ed: Vancouver Needs a Land Value Tax

Labor leaders argue that curbing real estate speculation is Vancouver's best chance at lowering housing costs.
October 25, 2017, 8am PDT | Elana Eden
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Josef Hanus

In the Vancouver Sun, three union leaders locate the root of the regional housing affordability crisis in real estate speculation and rising land values, which recent research suggests does drive rising housing costs.

"While foreign investment acts as a catalyst by setting a high bar for real estate sales, it is financial institutions that drive up prices by approving larger mortgages than they would otherwise allow," they write, equating the added costs for renters to a tax. "Speculators profit from ever-increasing real estate values, while the actual productive value of land — the rent it produces — is harvested by the lenders."

To mitigate the effects of this process on renters, the writers suggest that provinces tax land value in order to both curb speculation and raise their own funds for affordable housing. The argument echoes a recent reflection on Vancouver housing policy by University of British Columbia professor Patrick Condon.

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Published on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 in The Vancouver Sun
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