UBC prof calls for sweeping new housing tax
Published Monday, May 21, 2018 4:56PM PDT
On Vancouver’s West Side you don’t have to look very far to find multi-million dollars homes or lawn signs protesting NDP tax proposals that target them.
“I think it’s crazy,” said homeowner Matt Wood. “I don’t even think we should be having a discussion about it.”
He’s referring to an NDP surtax on the value of homes over $3 million, but one UBC professor has a proposal that goes much farther than that.
“If you’re in a single detached home right now, you are in many respects actually much more prosperous than you might think just simply based on your income,” said Paul Kershaw, who teaches at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health.
Under Kershaw’s plan, homeowners would be taxed one per cent on the assessed value of their home over $1 million.
For a $1.25 million house, that would be an annual tax bill of $2,500. On a $2 million home, it would be $10,000 per year. And for a house worth $5 million, the yearly tax hit would be $40,000.
"He must think we're foolish,” said Wood. “Most people that have a million-dollar home probably have an 800-thousand dollar mortgage. In fact their net-worth is probably $200,000."
Kershaw said everyone would be able to defer the tax until they sell their home.
He predicts the annual windfall to government would be in the neighbourhood of $3 billion which would allow the province to lower other taxes.
"How can we try to change tax policy today to cool home prices and stretch local earnings so others can have their hard work pay off in a way that will allow them to get into the housing market. Or at least be secure in renting,” said Kershaw.
As for whether the big tax grab will actually fly with an NDP government already in the midst of another tax fight, CTV News is still waiting for a government response.