06 February 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Douglas Todd

Obituary: Real-estate analyst Richard Wozny fought for justice on housing and taxes

One of B.C.’s leading real-estate analysts, Richard Wozny, whose passion for housing justice was set out in a Jan. 27 column in The Vancouver Sun, died on Wednesday, surrounded by family. He was 62.

Wozny, who had been receiving treatment for non-smoking lung cancer for 18 months, received wide praise for devoting his fading energy to exposing the dangers of excessive, largely untaxed foreign capital in Metro Vancouver’s over-priced housing market.

The president of Site Economics, which has produced 1,200 studies for the public and private sectors on more than $100 billion worth of mostly commercial real-estate projects, believed it immoral that hard-working, taxpaying members of the middle class are being squeezed out of the city.

A second-generation Vancouverite, from the Kerrisdale neighbourhood, Wozny produced a major report in 2017 titled Low Incomes and High House Prices in Metro Vancouver, which concluded “a large, mysterious, untaxed pool of international capital” is being converted into speculative investment in the city’s residential real estate.

Michael Geller, a prominent Vancouver planner and property developer, said Wozny was highly regarded in the property development industry as a knowledgeable and professional real-estate analyst. 

“However I think he may ultimately be best remembered for his contribution to the affordable housing discussion in the final months of his life. During this time, in his writing and media conversations, he shared what many in the real estate and development industry knew, but were reluctant to say publicly,” Geller said.

“I admired him very much for this and hope that others will take his lead and put the interests of the general public ahead of colleagues and clients.”

Among other things, Wozny’s groundbreaking research revealed that residents of Metro Vancouver municipalities with the most expensive housing tend to report lower incomes than people in less-costly municipalities. Many property investors, both domestic and foreign, he suggested, are not paying their share of taxes.

“Canada has become a freeloader society,” said Wozny, in which some mansion owners have found ways to avoid reporting their total worldwide incomes to the Canada Revenue Agency.

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