Nanaimo Property Taxes, Housing Prices and Mega Projects

Did you get your tax notice yet? The average Nanaimo taxpayer has seen their taxes go up by about 12% to 18%.

Nanaimo Property Taxes

A resident wrote a letter to the local newspaper stating that their taxes have gone up by $439 or 18%. Why? The response from City Hall was that the increase was due to their provincial assessment which had gone up by $60,000. Why did their home assessment go up if they did no improvements or renovations? The assessment goes up because the homes on the street are sold for higher prices and or new homes are built with higher assessments.

Some people say this is great. Don’t you want your home to be worth more? Yes of course. But what happens when taxes go up 18% every year? How long can people afford these tax increases? For seniors and those on disability there is a tax deferral program for those who qualify. For everyone else, they will have to move elsewhere.

Vancouver Island housing prices

What is happening now in Nanaimo is a repeat of what happened in Vancouver and the North Shore in the 1990’s. There was an influx of money from Hong Kong and the locals couldn’t afford to stay in their homes due to the corresponding surge in property tax levies so they had to move to Squamish or Vancouver Island.

Foreign investors have no intention of living here because for them, there is no real economy here. There aren’t many jobs in Vancouver either –  Vancouver median incomes remain the lowest among Canadian cities. These Chinese investors make their wealth in China, not in BC. They will continue to pursue those interests and will avoid paying as much tax as possible in Canada.

To illustrate this point, a Point Grey mansion that was owned by Canaccord founder Peter Brown sold earlier this year for a record $31.1 million to a man who gave his occupation as a student. There are many others like this student who are claiming to have poverty level wages yet who reside in million dollar homes and aren’t paying a penny in income tax.

Vancouver – bulldozer bait

Vancouver has been named the second most unaffordable city in the world for four of the past five years.

Property prices rose by 40% last year alone by one estimate. Home prices are also artificially driven up by the desire by money launderers looking to park their assets. That is distorting the real estate market so local people can’t afford the houses anymore.

Between 2004 and 2015 more than 10,000 demolition permits were issued in the City of Vancouver alone. Last year, an average of three houses were being torn down per day. And these homes that became ‘bulldozer bait’ were in excellent condition.

This is not a bubble. It’s a disease that has spread to other areas of the province including the Sunshine Coast, and Oak Bay. This will continue until our government wakes up and does something. But what have they done? These real estate speculators are being enabled by our own Canadian government.

Are we any different from the U.K.?

Are Tibetans Racist?

There are people who pull out the racist card and claim that all this about the mainland Chinese investors is just xenophobia. If that’s the case why not apply that same mindset to Tibet. Remember all those bumper stickers that said Free Tibet? No one accused the Tibetans of being racist when they set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese bulldozing their villages. There are now more Chinese people in parts of Tibet than Tibetans.

The Chinese government has a campaign telling its citizens to avoid hiring or having relationships with white foreigners, because they might be spies. Has someone mentioned to Mayor Robertson that his Chinese girlfriend could be a spy?

Chinese Banks fuel real estate binge

It would seem that buying up BC is a priority for the Chinese government. China’s top banks had mortgages and loans for real estate worth $1.9 trillion USD at the end of 2015, up 11% over the year, up 26% from 7 years ago. The money being pumped into BC shows no sign of slowing down.

2012: The Agricultural Bank of China, a Chinese state-controlled commercial bank headquartered in Beijing, opened an office in Vancouver, its first in Canada and its fifth overseas.

2013: Bank of China (Canada), a wholly owned subsidiary of the government controlled Bank of China, opened its International Business Centre in Vancouver.

Nanaimo mega projects

It was reported in the News Bulletin that the Nanaimo Council is trying to decided what project is a priority — a football stadium, a paddling centre, or Port 1 waterfront development. Mayor McKay mentioned in the paper he would like Council to pick three to six projects and go to the community to get an idea of what people want.

There is nothing wrong with planning for projects. The problem is we are not in “normal” times. We are in the process of being run out of our homes. We cannot sustain tax increases of 15 to 20% a year and also bear the burden of more mega projects.

If the current crisis in the BC real estate market is not dealt with, what will happen to your average Joe Taxpayer? Another addition to the soon-to-be extinct list?