Vancouver collects $21M from empty homes tax, expects $38M total for first year

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City of Vancouver passes empty home tax
WATCH: City of Vancouver passes empty home tax (Aired Nov. 16, 2016) – Nov 16, 2016

The City of Vancouver expects to net $38 million in revenue from the first full year of the Empty Homes Tax (EHT) — $8 million more than it had initially expected to.

In a media release issued Thursday, the city said it had already collected $21 million from the measure. In the spring, the city expected to gather $30 million for the year.

According to the city, 99 per cent of residential homeowners — about 184,000 households — submitted EHT declarations.

It said 178,120 of those homes were occupied, 5,385 were exempt and 2,538 were vacant.

The news came a day after the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its 2018 rental market report for the city, which found the rental vacancy rate for Vancouver had declined from 0.9 per cent to 0.8 per cent year-over-year.

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WATCH: (Aired Feb. 20, 2018) Growing frustration over Empty Homes Tax

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Growing frustration over Empty Homes Tax

That same report found the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment had climbed in one year from $1,860 to $1,964.

Vancouver’s EHT took effect in 2017, and applies a penalty of one per cent of a home’s assessed value to properties that are left empty more than six months a year.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver to collect $30M from empty homes tax

The tax includes exemptions for owners who sold their homes during the tax year or are undergoing medical or supportive care, as well as for homes that are undergoing permitted renovations.

The city previously estimated that the program will cost about $7.4 million to implement over three years.

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On the campaign trail, newly-elected Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart pledged to triple the tax if he won office.

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