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Vancouver raising empty homes tax to 3% in 2021

Click to play video 'City of Vancouver passes empty home tax' City of Vancouver passes empty home tax
WATCH: (November, 2016) City of Vancouver passes empty home tax – Nov 16, 2016

Vancouver’s empty homes tax is going up next year.

The city said the tax, which currently sits at 1.25 per cent, will climb to three per cent for the 2021 tax year.

“This groundbreaking tool has helped move thousands of homes back onto the rental market to help house our neighbours, but there are still too many homes that remain empty,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a media release.

Read more: Vacant homes in Vancouver continue to dwindle due to empty homes tax: mayor

“By tripling the tax from one per cent to three per cent since the tax launched, we’re sending an even stronger message that homes are for people, not speculation.”

This will be the second time the tax has been hiked. Council approved an increase from one per cent to 1.25 per cent in 2019.

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Click to play video 'Provincial rules stand in way of more empty homes taxes in B.C.' Provincial rules stand in way of more empty homes taxes in B.C.
Provincial rules stand in way of more empty homes taxes in B.C – Jul 7, 2019

In the 2018 municipal election, tripling the then-one per cent tax was one of Stewart’s key campaign promises.

Vancouver implemented the tax in 2017, with the intent of cracking down on property speculation and foreign home ownership that left many homes in the city empty amid a housing crisis.

Since then, it has provided $61.3 million in funding for affordable housing programs while the number of vacant properties has fallen 25 per cent, according to the city.

Read more: Vancouver empty homes tax nets another $39M as number of vacant properties drop, city says

The policy requires homeowners to prove their homes are occupied for at least six months out of the year by either themselves or renters, or face the tax.

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Council will still need to formally approve the tax hike at a future meeting.