Hamilton begins public consultation on vacant housing tax to free up affordable housing – Hamilton
Over the next month, the City of Hamilton will hear from the public on implementing a vacant housing tax (VHT) in the hope of increasing the local supply of affordable housing.
The online survey is step 2 of a process approved by city council in early July.
According to city staff reports, approximately 11,000 Hamilton private homes in 2016 were unoccupied, believed to be used for speculation.
Vacant Home Tax Helps Protect Hamilton’s Affordable Housing Stock
“We need to take action to provide more housing units in our community,” Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said at a general issues committee meeting in July.
“If you put three units back into service in our community (thanks to the tax), in my opinion, that’s a breakeven point. “
Last week, the Hamilton-Burlington Real Estate Association (RAHB) reported fewer listings in the city in July, despite an 18% year-over-year average selling price increase to reach $ 779,486.
“Even though we have fewer active listings and sales, we are also seeing a slight drop in the average selling price. Overall, the same story continues and is that inventory levels remain at critical levels. We definitely need more supplies in the market, ”RAHB President Donna Bacher said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the cost of renting in Hamilton has increased, with data from locations.ca by setting the average cost of a single-family home in Hamilton at $ 1,461 per month in July, that of an average two-bedroom unit at $ 1,761.
During the same period in 2019, a single room cost only $ 1,192 per month, while two rooms cost only $ 1,329.
Council began looking at VHT in 2019 after Toronto and Ottawa considered a 1% tax on the value of empty residential homes.
Toronto City Council Approves Vacant Housing Tax Implementation Plan
Toronto approved a VHT after two years of study in July in hopes of forcing homeowners to occupy or rent properties. The tool should also discourage purchases purely for the purpose of speculation.
Toronto’s final report and tax settlement will be prepared for review by the end of 2021.
Hamilton Council has set aside January 1, 2023 for the start of the settlement following the ongoing consultation, framework development and recommendations set for February 2022.
The city estimates that a VHT program will likely cost between $ 1 million and $ 1.3 million, offset by between $ 800,000 and $ 1.6 million in revenue from the royalty.
Staff suggested to council that identifying vacant units will be the most difficult part of the VHT.
The online survey will run from September 7 to 28.
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