Real estate board comes out swinging against a luxury tax

A (presumedly) high-priced home on Point Grey Road.

Plus, ReBoot gets a reboot and Richmond fights climate change

A tax on all your houses
Vancouver’s realtors have come out swinging against the prospects of a tax on transactions, intended to stymie house-flipping, or empty homes, or foreign buyers—or whatever it is Vancouverites are so worked up about. Over the weekend, J. Darcy McLeod, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver—which represents all realtors north of the Fraser (plus South Delta)—criticized talk of a “luxury tax,” positing that there’s little evidence it would make housing more affordable. He blames current taxes, i.e. the property transfer tax, introduced in 1987, for adding to the un-affordability mix. 

As for the impact of offshore investment on Metro Vancouver house prices, which Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s proposed “luxury housing tax”—which could include, for example, a higher property transfer tax on very expensive homes—intends to address: “No one has the data to know,” says McLeod. And if you’re looking for a detached home? Try Maple Ridge, he suggests, where the average price is $499,100. You can read the rest of the letter from the real estate board—and their argument against a levy on foreign house-buyers—here.

ReBoot‘s reboot
First, B.C. was the setting for the Littlest Hobo; in the 1970s, it was The Beachcombers. For every generation of TV viewers, there was a show—produced in B.C.—that put the province on the map. And now ReBoot, a ’90s kids show identifiable by its rudimentary computer-generated graphics—the first of its kind on TV—is getting a reboot. On Monday, Corus Entertainment greenlit a season of half-hour episodes of the show, perhaps best-known for introducing “coding” and “computer viruses” into the cultural mainstream. The update will be produced by Rainmaker Entertainment—a CGI shop with deep roots in Vancouver. The original series, which ran from 1994 to 2001, aired in 65 countries. 

Richmond’s carbon solution
If there’s a Lower Mainland city nervous about the rising tides of climate change, it’s Richmond. Now the sea-level suburb plans to launch a carbon marketplace where it can buy credits from local businesses—for retrofits, solar panel installations, and switching vehicle fuels—that reduce emissions. It’s also part of the city’s long-term strategy to retain its “carbon neutral” status, first achieved in 2013. While Richmond is set to retain its status over the next few years, thanks in part to city-wide organics recycling and a program at the landfill, the city wants to remain carbon neutral for the foreseeable future. You can read more about the program here