Designed to tax vacant properties, the tax will target less than one per cent of the housing market.
So why was Wall in Victoria saying that, “the speculation tax is a message to people outside of B.C. that the province is not open”?
As the Times Colonist in Victoria states, the tax “will be applied to the 2018 tax year and is meant to discourage the buy-up of housing by investors who subsequently leave homes empty. A homeowner can avoid the tax by living in or renting out the home for six months a year.”
And according to Press Progress, a Victoria-based real estate firm called Focus Equities, along with the United Nations Association in Canada, took out a full-page the Times Colonist last week, and “bizarrely billed the event as a discussion about the quote-unquote “Housing Insanity Tax.”
While the focus of the event seems to have been more a discussion about the pitfalls of the speculation tax, some interesting statistics came out of it. Michael Ferreira with Urban Analytics illustrated the housing shortage by showing that the 2,100 unsold townhomes or condominiums in Vancouver at the end of 2014 had shrunk to an inventory of only 89 by April 2018.
And while both Mr. Wall and former B.C. Premier Mr. Mike Harcourt thought the speculation tax was not a good idea, Mr. Harcourt noted that with a burgeoning global population of 10 billion by 2050, cities would require resiliency, and $350 trillion of investment was needed in cities worldwide. He forecast housing affordability not so much as a crisis, but more an on-going condition that would require constant attention over the next decades.
As Price Tags has previously reported, a survey undertaken by Research Co. showed that 75 per cent of people surveyed in British Columbia thought the speculation tax was a good idea, with 86 per cent of residents on the west side of Vancouver agreeing with it in the survey. Dan Fumano of the Vancouver Sun covered the results of the survey here.
Photos: Times Colonist and CTV News