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Vancouver’s homes may be costly to buy, but they’re cheap to own

By BLOOMBERG NEWS for Vancouver Sun

Got a million dollars to plow into real estate? Vancouver’s a great place to park it, thanks to a property-tax rate that’s the lowest in both Canada and the U.S.

The owner of a $1 million home in the Pacific Coast city will pay just $2,468 a year in property tax, compared with $6,355 in Toronto or more than $10,000 in Ottawa, according to a new study by real estate website Zoocasa that looked at rates in 25 major Canadian markets.

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Vancouver’s 0.25 per cent rate is still the lowest even when stacked up against what homeowners pay south of the Canadian border. Honolulu, at 0.31 per cent, had the cheapest rate among the 100 U.S. cities surveyed by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. So on purely a property-tax basis, the annual cost of owning a home in Vancouver is roughly half that of Toronto (with a 0.64 per cent rate), a third that of Seattle (0.84 per cent), and almost a fifth that of San Francisco (1.16 per cent).

“If I was somebody who wanted to park cash somewhere and just wanted low carrying costs, Vancouver has historically been a great place,” said Thomas Davidoff, a housing economist at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. “We are a ridiculous outlier. We’re off-the-charts low.”

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