Premier says restricting foreign investment will lose $1 billion in real estate sales
It didn’t take long for BC’s Premier to reject the mayor of Vancouver’s request for support making housing more affordable in his city.
Christy Clark sent Gregor Robertson a two-page response Thursday claiming most real estate speculation is local, and hiking taxes with hopes of driving down prices could backfire.
Clark ruled out a speculation tax, while hinting at changes to help first time buyers, and pondering the costs the city could cut on real estate transactions for buyers.
She says home-owners with large mortgages could suffer if they lose equity.
Clark also suggests ‘better land-use planning to curb demand by increasing the supply of housing.’
In an analysis cited by Clark ,the Ministry of Finance says drastically reducing foreign investment would reduce GDP, result in lost jobs, housing starts would decline, and a billion dollars would be lost in residential real estate sales.
No tracking system for real estate purchases
A BC Real Estate Association assessment also used by the Premier concluded foreign buyers equal about 5-percent of the market, but the association also admits there are no statistic tracking purchases by foreign buyers.
The city needs an urgent solution to the rapid growth in housing prices
In response to the Premier’s letter, Acting Mayor Raymond Louie says the focus is not on foreign ownership but investor speculation and lack of affordability and the need for a solution is urgent.
Mayor Gregor Robertson had sent the Premier a letter earlier this week asking her to introduce a speculation tax and to increase the property transfer tax on the most expensive properties and investing that revenue in affordable housing.
He also wants legislation giving municipalities the power to track property ownership, as well as monitor vacant homes. READ Robertson’s letter to the Premier here.