Is the province looking at the right information when it comes to answering what is driving up housing prices in Metro Vancouver?
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Mike de Jong released a glimpse into foreign ownership, but one expert says citizenship doesn’t address all activity in the market.
UBC economist Tom Davidoff says a better question to ask is where money is coming from.
“Somebody who buys permanent residency, say through the Quebec Investor Program, by definition they would be bringing money in from somewhere else and their purchases of real estate would not be based on making a living in Vancouver.”
Davidoff says we still don’t know how much money is coming in from out of province but government can easily figure it out.
“After an expensive home is bought, do we find anybody paying serious income tax from that address? If someone is paying $5,000 a year or nothing and they bought a $4-million dollar house that would tell me they brought cash in from somewhere else.”
He adds the government needs to zone in on the top end of the real estate market.
“You can ask the question, how many people who buy fancy houses then go on to not report much taxable income. That would answer is this money from living locally?”