Municipalities need to rethink tax model

Property tax rates are much higher for businesses than home owners, which can cause serious problems, particularly when the economy falters

Municipalities need to rethink tax modelBy Josef Filipowicz and Steven Globerman The Fraser Institute When homeowners receive their annual property tax bill from city hall, they’re likely unaware that the shop down the street pays a higher property tax rate – probably much higher. For example, according to a new Fraser Institute study, in the Calgary area, the average commercial…

Local taxes suck the life out of many businesses

Property tax imbalance erodes political accountability, discourages business investment and ultimately hurts employment

Local taxes suck the life out of many businessesBy Josef Filipowicz and Steven Globerman The Fraser Institute In many cities and towns across Canada, residential properties are increasing in value, while some local businesses are struggling to survive. There are different reasons for this development, including factors well beyond our borders. But in most of those municipalities, business property tax rates are higher…

Feds should stop trying to fix Canadian housing markets

That’s a job better left to municipal and provincial governments, which can actually have an impact on supply and demand

Feds should stop trying to fix Canadian housing marketsBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Late last month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the federal government is considering ways to make housing more affordable for millennials. While he didn’t mention specifics, a one-size-fits-all plan for the entire country isn’t likely to solve housing affordability woes in expensive cities like Toronto and Vancouver.…

A tale of two cities and their wildly different spending habits

Vancouver taxes and spends far more than neighbouring Surrey. But do Vancouverites get value for their greater investment?

A tale of two cities and their wildly different spending habitsBy Josef Filipowicz and Charles Lammam The Fraser Institute With three levels of government delivering a wide array of services to British Columbians – paid for by an equally wide array of taxes, fees and transfers – it can be difficult for citizens to understand and assess government taxation and spending – especially at city…

City hall holds the key to solving Canada’s urban housing crisis

As centres for jobs, education and innovation, municipalities play an outsized role in Canada’s continued prosperity

City hall holds the key to solving Canada’s urban housing crisisBy Kenneth P. Green and Josef Filipowicz The Fraser Institute For mayors, councillors and city staff in Canada’s largest cities, housing affordability is – or should be – top of mind. With the cost of owning a home out of reach for many, and the ability to rent hampered by virtually non-existent vacancies in the…

B.C. wants more rental units; will municipalities follow through?

New zoning powers for local governments will only meaningfully affect rental vacancy rates if cities streamline approval processes

B.C. wants more rental units; will municipalities follow through?The British Columbia government recently introduced legislation aimed at housing affordability, which – among other things – would grant municipalities the power to zone for rental-only housing, ostensibly to preserve and expand the supply of rental units in the province’s tightest housing markets. With Metro Vancouver’s vacancy rate consistently below one per cent, there’s a…

In Florida, they’re snowbirds, in B.C., they’re speculators

Penalizing foreign homebuyers fails to address the fundamental problem: a lack of available houses

In Florida, they’re snowbirds, in B.C., they’re speculatorsBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Florida is a popular destination for retirees and vacationers. Not surprisingly, many people from colder northern states and Canada either rent or own property in Florida to escape harsh winters. In fact, temporary residents in Florida (also known as snowbirds) number more than one million by…

How B.C. can escape its painful housing trap

Instead of targeting affordable housing, B.C. government should be targeting housing affordability

How B.C. can escape its painful housing trapBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute The B.C. government’s recent budget included a 30-point plan aimed at the province’s housing woes. The aim was off the mark. Most of the plan’s points fit into two broad categories: reducing demand by raising property transfer taxes, for non-residents and on homes over $3 million,…

The urban squeeze myth laid bare

Concerns about density are misplaced – Toronto and Vancouver have plenty of room to grow up and grow more affordable

The urban squeeze myth laid bareBy Josef Filipowicz and Kenneth P. Green The Fraser Institute Headlines about housing affordability in Canada mainly concern two cities – Toronto and Vancouver. In both cities and their surrounding areas, rental vacancies hover at or below one per cent, and home prices remain historically high. So Canada’s most desirable markets face tremendous pressure to…

Market factors, not national strategies, make housing affordable

As homes age, they should filter through various socio-economic strata. But construction approval roadblocks slow that process to a crawl

Market factors, not national strategies, make housing affordableBy Josef Filipowicz and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute The federal government’s new National Housing Strategy will benefit specific groups but doesn’t target broader affordability issues in Canada’s most expensive housing markets. The strategy includes a portable “housing benefit” of $2,500 per year, on average, to low-income households. It also proposes the construction or renovation of hundreds…
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