CBC Radio this morning had an interview with Christine Boehringer, founder of Lonely Homes, a website (lonelyhomes.ca) that tracks empty homes (“positively identified houses or strata units … hat are not being lived in”) in the Greater Vancouver region. Information collected is “anonymized” to protect privacy and security, but this information could be a helpful tool to help develop a better understanding of the housing situation.
According to the website, the effort started by friends discussing the many ways lonely homes affect us. “No political party is driving it; we care about our community and want to maintain it. We are not affiliated with any government or real estate entity and we aren’t selling your email address. We’re just a small group of people who have followed all the newspaper stories and commentaries about housing in our communities.” They ask people to monitor their own neighbourhood and take two minutes to report lonely homes. The summary data by postal code “will be made available to local governments in Greater Vancouver to help drive policy and taxation planning.” As of today, 103 are indicated for the city of Vancouver.
Excerpt from site
Why are we doing this?
- Inflate housing prices – Foreign buyers compete for homes and drive up prices well beyond the payscale of most British Columbians.
- Raise property taxes – A higher home value means more property tax. Also, municipalities must provide services like water, sewer and garbage pick-up to vacant homes even if those services are not used. Municipalities could spend millions of tax dollars to build unnecessary infrastructure and services.