Townhouses under construction in Metro Vancouver.

Government shrugs off foreign real estate fallout

Construction industry disruption expected as new tax threatens deals, says Finance Minister Mike de Jong

Premier Christy Clark and her ministers aren’t concerned about a backlash or downturn in B.C.’s hot urban real estate market from their sudden decision to impose a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman said Wednesday the development industry was “taken aback and a bit grumpy” after Premier Christy Clark announced Monday that the new tax takes effect Aug. 2.

Clark confirmed Wednesday that there would be no exemptions to the new tax for real estate sales that were signed but not registered before the deadline. That includes pre-sold condos that were purchased before construction, if they are going to buyers who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said tax changes are generally done on short notice, and the government expected there would be some cancelled sales as a result. But the purpose of the tax was to discourage foreign sales and replace them with sales to B.C. residents, he said.

“Part of it relates to the fact that properties going on the market are being scooped up so quickly.” de Jong said. “This disruption, this change is taking place in a market where there is incredibly strong domestic demand.”

The government intends to put the revenue from the foreign buyer tax into a housing affordability fund, but Coleman said there will be no return to government directly building social housing projects.

New initiatives will be announced in September, with incentives for builders to create more rental housing. The province already provides rent subsidies to 20,000 families to keep them in market housing, and that approach has better results than concentrating low-income people in government housing, Coleman said.

 

Just Posted

Coroner’s inquest announced for Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Elliot Eurchuk was 16 years old when he died of an opioid overdose at his Oak Bay home

Snake seen slithering in Saanich neighbourhood

Police describe the animal as ‘large, pale [and] yellow’ suggesting it might be exotic

Councillor wants to see concrete action after Saanich declares climate emergency

Coun. Nathalie Chambers doesn’t want declaration to be mere ‘lip-service’

UPDATE: West Shore RCMP reunite camera with owner

Police sought public’s help to identify people photographed on the camera with record-time results

Beware of geese: Nesting season may trigger aggressive behaviour

Greater Victoria residents will have to be wary of nesting geese in the area

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

UPDATED: Three dead in Surrey crash: police

Single-vehicle crash occurred around 10:30 a.m., police remain on-scene

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Military officer accused of sexual misconduct, drunkenness in B.C., Alberta

Warrant Officer Jarvis Kevin Malone is charged under the National Defence Act

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

Howard the giant gnome finds new home on Vancouver Island

Iconic attraction will move from Nanoose Bay to Galey Farms in Saanich

Harbour Air to convert to all-electric seaplanes

Seaplane company to modify fleet with a 750-horsepower electric motor

Most Read