A Burnaby man is calling for federal action on foreign property ownership through Ottawa’s new online petition portal.
The E-petition launched last month by Raymond Wong, and sponsored by Burnaby NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, has attracted more than 2,000 signatures so far.
Wong, a 40-year-old in the engineering field, says he was moved to act after watching his senior parents struggle with skyrocketing property taxes, while young up-and-coming coworkers are crushed under the market.
“I talked to one and he said there was four or five people he’s sharing a 700 square foot room. With young generations, I don’t see how… there’s no opportunities for them to make it in this city.”
He says something is clearly wrong when home prices jump in the range of hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, while incomes have stayed pretty much flat.
Wong’s petition says high prices are pushing families out and leading to school closures, scaring professionals away, and stretching seniors on fixed incomes, and calls for federal action on five fronts as a response:
- Collect data on off-shore investment, and the effects of speculation, flipping, and empty homes on prices.
- Task FINTRAC (the federal fraud and anti-money laundering bureau) with looking into links between real estate purchases and suspicious financial transactions.
- Look at requiring foreign buyers to register and potentially restrict foreign ownership to residents.
- Demand the Real Estate Council and lawyers to disclose information of buyers and sources of incomes.
- Look at foreign investment restrictions used by jurisdictions like Australia, England, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
He says federal regulators need to crack down, particularly on the perception that the market is being fueled by dirty money.
“Having these potential owners register with the government, declare all sources of income, so people know that this money here is not hot money as people are speculating.”
The petition is open for signatures until August 6th, after which it will be presented in the House of Commons.
Earlier this year, the province tasked BC Housing with tracking foreign ownership in the province.