With academics and the opposition asking why foreign cash isn’t one of the government’s “six principles” on affordable housing, B.C.’s Finance Minister is suggesting it’s not the solution to the region’s housing mess.
Earlier this month, the Bank of Canada acknowledged the role of foreign capital in driving prices, and several major banks have also issued notes of concern.
But asked why issues pushing up demand for property like offshore money or speculation didn’t make the list, Mike de Jong says the province’s response to the housing issue is focused first and foremost on the supply side of the equation.
“I will tell you candidly, that ultimately our response to the housing and affordability challenges has centred around what are the things we can do not to depress or eliminate demand. We like the fact that people are coming from other parts of Canada, from other parts of the world to live in Vancouver, create jobs.”
de Jong adds the province has already taken steps to address issue by raising the property transfer tax on luxury homes to 3% in the February budget.
Instead, he says if Metro Vancouver is to escape the current housing crisis, the region will have to build its way out.
“The way we think ultimately we’re going to address that and meet the challenges that local folks are facing is to find ways to build a greater variety of homes and more of them.”
WATCH: Premier Christy Clark outlines her six principles for affordability
But NDP Housing Critic David Eby says de Jong is missing the mark.
“I think it’s a willful ignorance on the part of the finance minister to suggest that this is an immigration issue. This isn’t about people coming to live and work in Metro Vancouver. This is about international capital coming into our housing market, and making it completely unaffordable for people to live here.”
Eby aknowledges the supply problem, but says to ignore the other half of the equation is to fight for affordability with “one hand tied behind your back.”
Christy Clark’s six principles for affordable housing
- Increase supply
- Expand transit
- Support first time buyers
- Protect consumers
- Increase rental supply
- Protect dream of home ownership
Last Friday, Premier Christy Clark took to YouTube to announce her government’s “Six Principles” of affordable housing.
Chief among them was increasing supply, both of units for ownership and of rental.
However, NDP leader John Horgan, along with housing focused academics from both UBC and SFU have taken issue with the absence of foreign capital from the list of priorities.