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October 27, 2017 9:51 pm

New Legislation Aims to Keep Home Ownership Dream Alive in Vancouver Area

Monday, July 25, 2016 @ 11:20 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  New legislation has been  introduced  in BC’s legislature aimed at  cooling off the  housing market in the lower mainland.

Premier Christy Clark says  the legislation  is aimed at keeping the dream of owning a home in B.C.  alive .  She says  the legislation will “Put British Columbians  first” , and make sure they have a “Better crack at  buying a home”.   She says she wants to keep the dream of home ownership alive  for the middle class.

Much of the legislation is aimed at the Greater Vancouver market, however,  Finance Minister Mike deJong says  the legislation contains mechanisms to expand  to other communities.

The  legislation   has four components:

  • 15% transfer  tax on property sales to  foreign  nationals, it takes effect  August 2nd.
  • $75 million fund  of  proceeds from  that additional transfer tax will be used to create  a Housing Priority Initiatives Fund for  provincial housing and rental programs.
  • Amending the  Real Estate Services Act  to protect  consumers
  • Amending the Vancouver  Charter to  allow that city to implement a vacancy  tax   to increase rental supply.

” British Columbia is the number one economy in Canada by a long shot” says the Premier “Thousands of people are coming  to our province to make their  life here,  find a job, raise a family and buy a home, and so today we are  taking measures to ensure home ownership remains within the reach of the middle class and we  continue to put British Columbians first.”

Premier Clark says there is more to do on this issue “You will see more changes coming as the months go on.”  She says the changes will be based on the six principles she has outlined:

  1. increasing housing supply
  2. linking communities  together better with smart transit investments
  3. supporting first time homebuyers  who are trying to  crack into the market
  4. protecting  consumers from shady practices
  5. increasing rental supply
  6. keep that dream  of home ownership alive for the middle class.



Put british Colombians first ? Out of the methane bubble burst and straight into xenophobia . What a nimble leader . This new push of hers stinks of Lynton Crosby . Blaming foreigners is too easy and totally wrong .

    What’s xenophobic about it? I haven’t seen the legislation but I doubt it singles out any race or culture. There are many laws that restrict what foreign non Canadians can do here. For example, foreigners cannot work in Canada without proper permits and visa’s which cost money. However as a Canadian I can work anywhere that will hire me. There is nothing xenophobic about protecting Canadian interests in Canada.

    Actually BC and Canada as a whole has been far more lenient towards off shore home owners not having to pay more for speculation property than most of the other countries in the world. I say we are just starting to catch up.

I wonder how they’ll get around this one. The law clearly discriminates against the buyer based on national/ethnic origin.

“Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

While many will cheer if they want to buy a home, you may find that the home that you just bought for 1 million dollars may only be worth 850,000 because it became more expensive to foreign buyers. So, if you got in with 10% down, the government has put you into a negative equity position. They’ve really took the wind out of the sails of the demand side of the equation.

I thought the vacancy tax was a good idea, but this, this could create a lot of problems for people with little equity in their homes.

    I wonder how they’ll get around this one ? Maybe she will wear a mask and fly a scull and crossbones . Foreigners don’t vote . So they’re a freebie . Or maybe she is starting a stampede before the election . It’s not law yet and it hasn’t been tested .

    The Canadian charter of rights protects Canadians. Become a Canadian and you aren’t a foreigner.


      Why do so few understand this??

      Must not be Canadians!!

      From government of Canada webpage
      ht tp://www.cic.gc.ca/english/newcomers/before-rights.asp

      “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of Canada’s Constitution and protects you from the moment you arrive in Canada.”

      Now, perhaps a foreign buyer isn’t protected if they are not physically here. The charter is broken down into two components – one talks about citizens – right to vote etc., the rest uses the words everyone, or person. But I would assume a foreign buyer would be physically present in Canada.

      Makes sense. If someone is in Canada visiting from the U.S., the police could do whatever they wanted to them if it weren’t for charter protections extending to everyone.

      @ ski51
      Of course there are fundamental rights that the charter protects for everyone, such as protection from illegal search and seizure. However there are other rights such as voting which is a right protected for Canadian citizens. Canadian citizens also have mobility rights in Canada, foreigners have no protected right to enter Canada.

    That is a law for canadian citizens, not citizens of the world.

    Easy. It does not forbid discrimination on the basis of citizenship. Citizenship is not the same as “national or ethnic origin” or “race”. If your interpretation of this charter provision were correct, foreigners would be able to vote, which they are not.

You’ll only lose money if you sell. If you buy a home and plan to live in it for the next 20 years then it’s quite likely that you will make a tidy profit if you want to sell it then. If you’re buying to flip then you’re part of the problem.

I applaud the effort seen here. I’ve never liked foreign ownership and I never will.

    So you do not like it when Canadians buy a place in a foreign country?

    Say a time share for a month/year?

    How about a condo or a bare land title? Perhaps to rent out part of the year in the first few years and then eventually retirement or 6 months here and 6 months there?

    You would prefer if those Canadians pay 6 months rent and the money leaves the country every year for a decade or so and there is no return coming to Canada in the way of income if the property is sold eventually?

All this makes me appreciate our relatively low house prices and predictable housing market we have here in PG.

The question I have is how many times can the foreign buyer tax be applied?

First purchaser from China buys $2million home and pays$300,000 tax.

2 years later he sells the residence to another foreign national for $2.5 million. I assume that person will have to pay the tax again, even though it could be argued that the first buyer has recovered the tax and gained $200 thousand on the $2million purchase.

The province then gets another $375,000.

Nice inflationary scheme!!!

What exactly will they be accomplishing??

    How many times do you pay tax on a car? Every time it’s sold.

I would have preferred they pass an act stating that one must be a Canadian citizen in order to purchase property. This would assure the buyer’s intention of remaining in the country and not just here temporarily to make a profit.

    So, could the foreigner buy a company here? or shares in a company or companies?

    So, you would stop people bringing money in from another country to invest in Canada?

    You realize, of course, that the quickest way to become a permanent resident in Canada is to bring a significant amount of money with you into the country to invest in a place to live as well as opening a business which will employ people.

Are Americans going to be foreign nationals? Wonder how they’ll react?

    To be fair, I would say yes. However I don’t think you see many American families moving here just to buy a home. They usually go through the process of becoming permanent residents first.

gopog2015, I think you are actually missing the point!
What the 15% tax is trying to combat is foreign nationals ie Chinese buying property in BC, but specifically in Vancouver simply as a place to park their money. Never intending to live their or contribute anything of value to the community. It is these people that are paying stupid prices for houses just to get their money out of China that are causing the huge increases in prices down there.
I would suspect that this measure will slow things down somewhat, and perhaps even burst that bubble. Then people that were born and raised in Vancouver might be able to afford to live there once again!

    I do not see where I am missing any point.

    Be more specific as to why you think I am. Such as finishing this sentence: “You are missing the point because …….”

    The intention might be to hit the Chinese. However, they cannot do that, that would be against human rights under the UN Charter as well under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.

    Thus, every foreign national will be hit.

I 100% support this change and new tax. I don’t believe that any national from another country should be able to just move in and buy up houses in any market. If you are coming to Canada to work or go to school and you need a place to live and you are in a position to buy a place then no problem there. If you are simply buying investment property and never going to be part of the community then pay an extra tax.

” British Columbia is the number one economy in Canada by a long shot” says the Premier “Thousands of people are coming to our province to make their life here, find a job, raise a family and buy a home…”

Well we know she is not talking about north and north central BC, oh but that’s right Christy’s definition of BC only includes the lower mainland!

    actually it includes the island as well.

    BC have been the retirement province for at least half a century. It is the reason why even to this day BC has a larger population than Alberta. Only the oil boom starting in the late 1940s started narrowing the gap. The population has fluctuated with the migrants who make their home in either BC or Alberta depending on the state of the economy.

    They tell me Nanaimo has started a growth spurt recently.

    Most of the people who came here after the pulp mills were announced came from the East, not the lower mainland/island. A significant number came from Europe when Kitimat was built.

    There are also a significant number of ranchers from Williams Lake right to the Peace region.

    Generally the lower mainlanders are a bunch of spoiled wimps. :-)

    And, of course, the reality of the provinces like Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba are no different where the population centers and capitals are in the south and the hinterlands are vast and sparsely populated.

    Saskatchewan and Alberta are slightly different where there are two cities a couple of hours drive apart and both are surviving quite well. In fact, Edmonton is in the middle of the province.

    BC’s problem is its geography and historical growth.

NyteHawwk has hit the nail on the head. This whole fiasco is about foreign investors buying up Vancouver real estate and driving up the prices. Non foreign investors also make big money on these deals.

I am always amazed at how gullible Canadian are, and how we can have high paid politicians that basically could not run a relay race, let alone a Province. Our Provincial politicians are out of their element when it comes to dealing with people on the world stage. They have no concept about how things work. We do silly things like setting up twin cities, and signing memorandums of agreement, while the foreign investors take us to the cleaners.

It matters little whether it is real estate, LNG, oil and gas, or whatever. The people of BC, especially the amateurish politicians are sitting ducks when it comes to dealing with the big boys.

A good example is this 15% transfer tax. When investors have hundreds of millions of dollars that they want to invest outside their Country so that it will be available for a rainy day, do you really believe that a 15% transfer tax will make any difference. This may seem like a lot of money to a back woods citizen from BC, but it means nothing to multi millionairs on the world market.

We need to stop foreign ownership of more than one primary residence. That would on the surface seem to be a way to stop this. However if you have a family of ten, then of course you could buy 10 houses, so perhaps not.

Banning foreign ownership altogether seems to be the best way to tackle the problem.

I’m curious if the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program applicants are going to be taxed the 15% as well when they buy a home. Arrive in Quebec, pay your $800K, and hop on the next flight to the GVRD. Would their money still be considered coming from foreign nationals?

    A foreign national is anyone who is not a Canadian Citizen. As simple as that.

    Then again, it does become a bit more complex if someone is classified as a Permanent Resident.

    For instance, UNBC hired a significant number of US citizens who received a work permit and PR status on being hired. I know some have not taken out Citizenship, but do have houses.

    Then again, this restriction is for the GVRD only.

    Not all foreign nationals are stinking rich. So, some may decide to buy outside of the GVRD, driving those prices up.

      Some countries have nationals who are not citizens. A person born in American Samoa, for example, is a “national” of the US but not necessarily a US citizen. There is no such category here in Canada.

      I looked up the actual legislation. Permanent Residents are considered the same as Citizens for this purpose. There are a significant number of PR in Canada. They can be here for 20, 30 years and not become citizens. The same situation exists in the USA.

      So, they are not considered as foreign nationals, which I agree is the proper thing to do.

      Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands fit into the same category. Citizens of those territories are US Citizens. However, they do not have representation in Congress or Senate.

      You’re wrong about American Samoans. People born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, etc. are American citizens who cannot vote, but those born in American Samoa are NOT US citizens by birth. They are non-citizen US nationals.

The fact that real estate and construction together represent roughly 25 per cent of B.C.’s GDP (about the same dependence Alberta has on the oil and gas industry) combined with $12 million of corporate donations to the Liberals over the last decade coming from the real estate industry and Christy taking two real estate companies on her recent trade mission to Asia tells me that they will do nothing concrete. Now with 15% more tax they can tell us that they balanced the books and BC’s economy is growing.

Are foreigners (Canadians included) able to buy houses in China, simply for investment purposes, never intending to actually live in them? China is a Communists country, so I imagine the top honchos have a tight grip on everything.

    China is on the verge of collapse, Chinese are not investing in their own country and are getting their money out.

      Some Chinese are getting some of their money out, not all of them! You are talking about the super rich Chinese. They are already deeply invested in China. They have money left over to extend their influence to other countries which allow foreigners to buy up farm land (Africa is a good example) and real estate and businesses all over the globe! Obviously they have the blessing of the Central Committee. If it would be harmful to China the Central Committee would put a stop to it. China’s economic growth rate does not have the double digit numbers of the past, but it is still positively growing on the plus side, far from being on the verge of collapse.

      True seamutt, China is a house of cards. Corruption, debt, overcapacity, pollution and a growing angry common citizenry. The elites are bailing and the sh#t will hit the fan.

It would be wiser to make this an incremental on the property tax, so that it can be adjusted from year to year according to the buyer’s circumstances, and to exempt non-citizens who reside in their BC dwelling a sufficient percentage of the year. That will avoid penalizing immigrants who travel a lot for business, investors who spend a lot of time in Canada, retirees and so forth.

Another stupid move by government to interfere in the housing market with absolutely no thought to the future. Like foreign home buyers in the last few yers put more money in the governments till than the LNG projects would have, for a start.
At one time a Tory government brought in the very successful MURB program, giving generous write offs to the builders of rental units in Canada…Oops, pretty boys lefty old man thought it was a tax scam so he killed it and the potential for multi-thousands more rental/condo units in Canada.
Then the lefty Dave Barrett brings in an onerous landlord tenant act which killed apartment construction in BC, so now you have only 4000 apartment rentals in the lower mainland instead of 40,000.
So all Christy has done is disenfranchised many thousands of homeowners in the lower mainland whose homes just got devalued.
We need somebody like Trump up here to kick ass…

    I sincerely doubt that any homes in Vancouver will be devalued because of this legislation.

    Its more likely that the purchaser will pay the transfer tax,.

    Keep drinking..

Presto, Chrispy has just created another cash cow for the General Fund of the Government.

    But she might have to host the Chinese film awards and the Bollywood awards before next election.

China currently prints 43% of the global new debt. They print money and blow up big bubbles creating wealth for their 1% at unsustainable levels destroying whole global industries in the process. The communist in China are now the worlds richest people because they have been allowed to manipulate their currency out of any relation to the real world. Of course they want to get as much wealth out of the country as quickly as possible to convert fiat paper wealth to real tangible wealth.

In comparison America with all their helicopter finance quantitative easing to bail out the banks, and $2 trillion a year deficits, are only creating half the new debt that China is creating.

America creates 23% of global new debt and Canada creates 2%….. China 43%.

    I prefer the idea of using income tax returns to determine if a home is the primary home. If so than that property is exempt from an investment home tax.

    In most countries a foreigner is limited to the size of property and usually one home at most. In the Phillipines a foreigner can only own a home in a development that is 60% owned by Filipino nationals and a home mortgage is limited to something like three years for foreigners.

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