Clamping down on foreign buyers in Vancouver’s property market is once again on the agenda as yet another survey finds Vancouver is close to the top of the most expensive cities surveyed.
Vancouver comes in third place as least affordable major metropolitan market, only beaten out by Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia, according to today’s Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.
Foreign ownership rules in Australia don’t appear to have had an effect
Legislating controls on foreign ownership has been pushed as one solution here, but controls have been in place in Australia for the last few months, and yet Sydney still beat out Vancouver.
Real estate consultant Michael Geller says there’s no doubt international demand for housing has distorted prices.
“I just don’t believe that trying to put in place speculation taxes, or special taxes on vacant units are going to address that.”
Meanwhile an Angus Reid poll last year found two thirds of Vancouverites who responded said foreign investment is the main cause of high prices.
Like Vancouver, foreign ownership is a big issue in Sydney, but unlike Vancouver, strict rules against foreign ownership have been in place for almost a year.
Real estate consultant Michael Geller says that shows anti-foreign ownership rules don’t work.
“They’re not going to be as effective as increasing the supply relative to the demand, I really do believe that is an issue in Vancouver.”
Breaching property investment laws in Australia can result in a three year jail prison term, and fines of up to half a million dollars U.S.