With the foreign buyer tax applying only to Metro Vancouver, Victoria’s mayor says her municipality will watch and see what effect it has in the housing market.
Lisa Helps calls the foreign buyer tax a “practical first step” to address housing affordability.
And while the tax doesn’t apply to Vancouver Island, Helps sees Metro Vancouver as the litmus test to see what, if anything, the tax will do to help cool the red-hot market.
“If it has a positive impact in Metro Vancouver then maybe it is something to expand to the rest of the province or at least to the South Island, where we are seeing the same kinds of pressures that you’re seeing in Metro Vancouver.”
Helps is still waiting on the province to move on granting power to other municipalities for an empty homes tax, but believes that discussion is coming.
Fraser Valley price spike?
Meanwhile, in the Fraser Valley, realtors say they don’t anticipate the new rules will lead to a massive bump in prices as investors look to dodge the 15% Metro Vancouver tax.
President Elect of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Gopel Sahota says he thinks most buyers who choose Vancouver do so for a reason.
“The impact of the tax is actually going to depend on the buyer’s desire to invest in a particular area, regardless of the additional tax. Many are still looking pretty much at Vancouver because it’s an international destination. Some would be willing to pay the tax, others might look further.”
Sahota admits prices in Chilliwack and Abbotsford have been rising, though slower than in Vancouver, but says most buyers looking up the Valley are families who want to actually live there and choose the region for its lifestyle.
He says the board backs the tax, along with any measures that will make housing more affordable.