Close to home. What do property taxes pay for?

Vancouver has once again been rated the most livable city in the world, topping 140 cities, according to a survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The annual survey scores cities worldwide from 0 – 100 based on 30 factors grouped in broad areas such as infrastructure, the environment, culture and education.

How do we rate number one, year after year? Property taxes and what they pay for have a lot to do with it.

Think about our great infrastructure, our award-winning libraries and recreation facilities, playing fields and cycling paths, our abundant parks and green spaces, our well maintained road surfaces, and our new police officers and firefighters. Taken together, these add up to a high quality of life in Metro Vancouver.

To help preserve our quality of life, we have to pay property taxes, which go toward funding:
• animal control police
• local road maintenance
• archives and museums
• parks/green spaces
• community centers
• sewers
• police protection
• emergency plans
• safe building regulation
• fire service
• safe drinking water
• heritage planning
• sewage treatment
• innovative land use planning
• swimming pools/ice rinks

Why have property taxes increased overall?

This is a question REALTORS® are asked by home owners and home buyers. Generally there are two reasons:

1 – Property taxes are set by local government councils to meet their funding needs. Local governments cannot run a deficit so they must raise taxes and/or fees to meet the cost of providing increased services (or they must cut services). Costs increase for a variety of reasons including inflation, higher energy and materials costs, rising salaries and new programs.

2 – New residential construction was down about 23 percent compared to the previous year, which means the tax base wasn’t growing as much. A growing tax base helps spread the tax load over more taxpayers and minimizes the need for property tax increases.