In some cities, like Vancouver, British Columbia and Jerusalem, Israel, we have noticed that a significant percentage of apartments and condos in many buildings are vacant most of the year. In the former example, they tend to be owned by Chinese investors as an ’emergency refuge.’ In the latter case, they tend to be owned by Americans and Europeans who occupy them for holidays and vacations. In both cities, entire neighborhoods are almost empty for much of the year, putting local stores and merchants at jeopardy and making those areas seem less safe and vibrant. Does the government have a right to restrict this type of ownership by means of tax policy? Or do owners have the right to underutilize their property? I’m pondering this as I prepare my next podcast.
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