BC’s Finance minister is dropping a few hints at how his government will address real estate issues in tomorrow’s budget.
Mike de Jong says the province will take a two pronged approach to housing.
“One is doing what we can to facilitate people entering the housing market – that is the demand side. But if there is not an increase of supply more people vying for a finite supply will only drive the price higher. So we are also looking to take steps that will encourage, incent, the supply of housing options.”
de Jong says the key is to get more people in the market and to increase supply to address demand and rising prices.
He also admits it might be time to address the void of information on who is buying.
“We used to collect that information in British Columbia. When I was a young lawyer we actually had people sign things like citizenship declarations so we had a sense of that. I think in 1998 that data stopped being collected. So I think there is an argument around reacquiring reliable information that we can provide to British Columbians.”
The government has also hinted at tweaking the property transfer tax.
Currently, first time homebuyers are exempt from the tax if their purchase is under $500,000. Everyone else pays 1% on the first $200,000 of a purchase and 2% on the remainder.