Some thoughts on the Vancouver foreign buyer tax

Yesterdays surprise announcement of a 15% tax on purchase of real estate by foreign buyers has some people cheering, some jeering and some people scratching their heads. Here are a few thoughts pulled from yesterdays thread:

Franko sees it as a positive for affordability:

The province taxing foreign buyers.
The city taxing vacant properties.
The CRA going after tax evaders.
It all would have been unthinkable a year ago, but the biggest hit by far will come from China clamping down on money fleeing the country. HAM is soo over….and it will lead the stampede to the exit.

Patriotz is a little more sceptical:

Christy wants to eat her cake and have it too, i.e. be seen to be “doing something” in Vancouver while keeping the floodgates open and directing the money to Abbotsford and points east – which is where her greatest electoral support is. And get extra revenue from foreign buyers who just have to buy in the taxable area.

MarKoz points out the obvious:

Foreign speculators could avoid paying the tax by getting friends or family who are permanent residents to buy on their behalf. Or the tax may lead to inflated housing prices in cities such as Victoria, Kelowna or Toronto.

LS in Arbutus says maybe not so easy to avoid the tax:

I wanted to point out that there are anti-avoidance measures in the legislation. An Anti-Avoidance Rule is typically a statutory rule that empowers a revenue authority to deny taxpayers the benefit of an arrangement that they have entered into for an impermissible tax-related purpose. Soooo I guess you can still gift your wife/kids money to buy a house, but you generally much more shenanigans than that would be caught in this type of rule. They are very wide sweeping these rules.

bullwhip29 points out how lucky some politicians are that the tax only applies to one area:

as luck would have it, mike de jong has all his eggs located just outside of greater vancouver and wont be affected by any of this (or least not in a negative way)

No matter what your thoughts are on this issue you’ve got to agree it’s pretty much the big news story in the Vancouver real estate market lately and it’s likely going to take a while to see what sort of effect it has on the local and related markets.

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I think the government went about this all wrong. It is local speculation, along with the foreign investment that drive up the price of RE in Metro Vancouver. It’s too late to make housing affordable because half the young people have already bought homes and are mortgaged to the hilt. I know many couples who bought a new apartment for $900,000 on a combined income of $90,000 with thier lives savings of $100,000 as a down and a $800,000 mortgage. Now what good it is for them when the Governement’s actions drops the price of RE by 30%. They would have all their equity and life savings wiped out. I think the correct way to slow the situation is to implement a “flip” tax . If you sell a house within a year, the seller pays a 10% tax, within… Read more »

[…] –Foreign buyer tax a NAFTA violation? –Housing crash a bigger woe than oil for Canada? –Tax draws criticism from housing experts –Ontario considering BC style foreign buyer tax –Buying property all-cash via shell companies suspicious –Tax affecting presales? –Toxic debate –Reporters suck at math –Encouraging loopholes discouraged –CMHC warns of overheated market – […]


QUEStion. Ownership of Local Businesses. As a customer I would like to know who the owners are of the businesses around town that I patronize. I am used to knowing this, having grown up in a small town. But in Vancouverwhen I ask, sometimes people are cagey about it. CAN CHINESE NATIONALS LIVING IN CHINA or in Canada own BC businesses in Vancouver? IF so, this is one way they get money into the country to pay 4 million for a house.

Next Question: Can the govt make a law requiring disclosure of ownership to customers?


I am talking about little clothing shops or knick knack shops or sandwich shops by the way — not stores that on the face of them are multi national and owned by people in other countries.


Let me elaborate. Little economic transactions are a big part of my daily life — a bit part of everyone’s life. At root economic transactions are part of our social lives, and cannot be otherwise. When I buy something (or sell something) it is meaningful. It is not just the “thing” bought or sold that matters, but that I am buying that thing from this or that person, or selling the thing to this or that person. It matters who I am dealing with. The whole idea of growing a business from some a good starting idea, and of attention to the reputation of a business over time turns on this. So, I don’t want to buy (or sell) from people who are laundering criminally attained money or doing other illegal activities. (Also, personally, I don’t want to buy from… Read more »


“Housing Correction To Replace Oil Crash As Source Of Canada’s Woes: Report”, Huffington Post

“Just as Canada’s economy is set to begin recovering from the oil crash, Capital Economics predicts it will be hit by a downturn in the housing market. “Our bigger concern now is that the housing bubble will burst before the year is out,” economists Paul Ashworth and David Madani wrote.”

“House prices have been driven up not so much by foreign investors, but by low interest rates that have sent the amount of mortgage debt, relative to household incomes, to “ridiculous levels,” the economists wrote.”


Madani been wrong for years. He is a shill like Garth.

Interest rates are going no where


“Poll shows enormous support for new foreign buyers tax”…Vancouver Sun headline.

Now if we could just find a way to stop Chinese pregnant ladies from coming here to have their babies. Richmond maternity ward has been overflowing recently, and has to had to divert them by ambulance to LGH in North Van.

Combat roach

Locusts have no shame, sky is the limit when it comes to shitshow.


Globe and Mail article entitled “Chinese-language media up in arms over B.C. foreign buyer tax” As I read that article there is just one word that goes through my mind over and over again: ENTITLED!!! Those people in China complaining about this tax are ENTITLED!!! Why do they think they are ENTITLED to purchase real estate in Vancouver? Why do they feel ENTITLED to not have to pay this tax? This real estate bubble has harmed me, my family, my friends, and my community in innumerable ways–I won’t bother delineating all the negative impacts this has had on the people around me–let’s just say there has been a lot of hardship due to high housing costs for people who have lived and worked here all their lives and for people whose ancestors built this country and fought for this… Read more »


Well-said, Entitled.

Combat roach

Those fuckers are only ENTITLED to be send back, where they came from and never come over again, shame.


Barry Appleton: B.C. just violated NAFTA with its foreign property tax — and we could all pay for it

Another indication that this was a panic move by Christy. Note that China is not one of the countries cited in the article as having treaty investment protections. She could have done it right if she had done her homework.


It’s a panic move by Clark, or the article is wrong.

US states and Mexico both have foreign ownership taxes on residential real estate. It’s common knowledge.


Immigration info:

Canada will accept 340,000 permanent residents in the coming year. This includes 50,000 that Quebec will take in (guess where they’re going to end up?). Of these, 5000 are the Quebec investor program millionaires.


Only a true backlash would end this treasonist activity. I’m sure many local people are past the boiling point. Wont take much IMO to have riots break out if this mess is catastrophically affecting born and bred families.

Combat roach

Where? When?

would-be buyerl

The US is cleaning house. Why can’t we?

Combat roach

Maybe cleaning would be discriminatory hence better to keep it dirty?

LS in Arbutus

So the US gov’t clearly outlining that they are worried that buying houses with “all cash” through shell companies is a potential money laundering issue. Before, I would have said this gov’t would do little, but now, given BC’s recent move, I think they will be all up in this. But this would be OSFI/Federal. Also, global regulators will require it and banks will come to see that this is best practice. Do not under-estimate how much banks are worried about not only being compliant but also managing their reputational risk. I can almost guarantee that Cdn compliance depts at Cdn banks are watching this and perahps implementing themselves internally. Matter of time before this is a global standard. Where the US goes, everyone else typically follows.


Land assembly at marine and Cambie has been selling for a few months but no developer wants to buy. Not sure if priced incorrectly or whether the market has already been slowing.


The next bombshell.

Christy Clark revealed on Global TV tonight that she is working with the Quebec government to prevent their Immigrant Investor Program serving as a back door to BC.


Holy Crap! What is Krusty trying to do, change my vote from Eby. Afraid its 4 years too late.


What do people here need to do to help her make the case to them?


1900 families. Estimated that 1400 move to Vancouver right away. SCMP estimated that these folks alone buy 10.9% of total value of YVR real estate. Foreign buyers account for another 10%. Corps for 5%.

Thats 25% right there.

Then add the permanent residents who are already here that have no income here and are funnelling foreign cash into housing.

Make no mistake, This housing boom is all due to untaxed Chinese money.

Either we end it or we wave the white flag.


Christy is just passing the buck. She has the power to deal with the problem herself by imposing penalty taxes on their RE purchases.




15% for foreign nationals is a start.

Next step:

Apply that 15% tax to Permanent Residents who buy more than 1 house. Furthermore, they must buy the 2nd + home without Government backed insurance. This way, foreign money that is coming from the motherland only finds its way into 1 home.

This will easily shave off 33% of Vancouver housing values. But powers that be would fight this tooth and nail.


And have a CRA audit for income for other family members who may buy in kids or wife ‘s name.

OooooH WeeeeeEeee

Also have severe penalties like forfeiture of property under proceeds of crime and criminal record.


10,000+ listings in August?

Anyone think perhaps 11,000?

OooooH WeeeeeEeee

I think so atleast 10000+ by the end of August, fear is in the streets. People always act irrationally on the way up and down.


10 K is not a lot of listings for Vancouver. 20 K would be a lot. But if there are reports of price drops for July (unlikely) people will not list in August. They will wait until spring. That’s the thing about RE: very illiquid.

OooooH WeeeeeEeee

Many will be in denial but when reality sets in many will try to salvage any profits especially speculators or amateur investors. Lots of people have used line of credits to fund down payments, they will be first to list. I agree people who purchased to occupy property will stay put. It will also depend on how many banks are willing to lend on a depreciating asset. Too many variables.


Wife went to an open house today (yes on a thursday). This is in a building opposite Oakridge, a 3br/2ba going for 1.8M. We are in the hood so we thought we would stop by. Not many lookers but this has been on the market for quite a long time. has had several open houses already. There’s another 3br/3ba going for 3.0M (!) that more than likely won’t sell at that price.




It’s the Conservatory. 45th avenue just west of Cambie. An older townhouse and apartment complex.


Chinese-language media up in arms over B.C. foreign buyer tax (both Van and China)
China banned us from owning Chinese RE and they are bitching about 15%. We should banned all Chinese national from owing Canadian RE.

Combat roach

Right, banning Chinese nationals from owning Canadian RE would be the best possible outcome of the housing crisis. Curbing the housing cost in the short run and in the long run it would slow down a further deterioration of the society from the political, cultural, social, ethical and economical perspective.

OooooH WeeeeeEeee

Local realtor I spoke with today told me his clients “investors/speculators” heavily leveraged are shitting there pants. Especially the one who just purchased this year who were the highest bidder in bidding wars, many now have buyers remorse.

Combat roach

Right now there are diapers for adults on sale in London Drugs and Costco.


At some point the market will go down, if not now, then sometime in the future and someone somewhere will have “just bought” and or be ” highly leveraged” and “didn’t see it coming”


More spill over from ZIRP:

The longer that interest rates stay low, the worse it will get. Central banksters are ruining the economy and people’s lives with their mis-pricing of money.

Zero Down Forty

Funny. When the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe prints trillions it’s economic disaster.

When the Bank of England, US Fed, ECB, print trillions it’s ‘needed fiscal stimulus’.


That’s not fiscal stimulus, it’s monetary stimulus, and that’s not a nitpick, these are opposing economic schools. Many who claim monetary stimulus isn’t working are advocating fiscal stimulus (i.e. directed taxation and spending).

Zero Down Forty

Yes I meant fiscal stimulus. Good call

I must have had JT and Larry Summers on my mind

Zero Down Forty

I mean I meant monetary stimulus

I still can’t get them off my mind,!

Bear Vancouverite

I think patriotz previously pointed out that rising housing prices usually increase ownership %. I don’t think ZIRP can explain this 51 year low ownership rate, since my understanding is that low interest rates and rising prices usually encourage more participation, not less.


Tweets: Cressey says half its presale buyers are foreign & may rescind offers. [Sound of needle crashing]. Hang on. Half your buyers are foreign?


“Half?”. Mike Dejong said earlier 3% of the total sales in BC were to foreigners. SOME ONE IS LYING!

Zero Down Forty

One building may have 100-150 units. Perhaps they mean a few buildings. There’s 40,000-50,000 sales in Metro Van every year, more in the rest of BC.

Selecting a small sample of of 0.5% or less of all sales does not prove anyone is lying. I could pick 150 sales in Tsawwassen (aka Little Rhodesia) and find it’s all local white folk. What would that prove? – Nothing.


“Nothing”? If statement is accurate, it proves that Cressey is heavily dependent on foreign buyers, and any significant withdrawal of demand from same will destroy their profits, and perhaps their solvency. Cressey is a major developer: what evidence is there to suggest that they differ substantially from other major developers in their proportion of foreign buyers?


It’s a ripple effect. Foreigners can’t buy their condo now and people can’t move up.

Zero Down Forty

1/2 local too.

It proves that they are dependant on the cheapest money in history, conjured in unprecedented numbers by central banks, devaluing the cash held in the hands of everyone in the world, be it the foreign investor or the over stretched local, causing all asset prices to soar.


+ 1. The government should amend the law to let all presales go thru. We want more inventory, not empty lots and bankrupt developers. It’ll get us to the same place but more people will have a place to live.

Zero Down Forty

Well, statement was not accurate. They actually said 14% of the pre-sale buyers were foreign, in ‘one particular project’

By your reasoning, Cressey is a major developer, and if they do not ‘differ substantially from other developers in their proportion of foreign buyers’ then 80-90% of pre-sale buyers are local.

But, hey, as I said small sample anyway.


for what it’s worth, it isnt all white folks anymore. ditto for white rock and other areas like that.


Oh, yes, there have been so many untruths, half-truths, suggestion of untruths, suppression of truths, etc, uttered about Vancouver RE by so many parties in recent years. And in the next little while, we’ll be able to definitively assign some of those statements to the correct category. At last, the longed-for “data” and “evidence” will manifest themselves, some of it in an unpleasant and embarrassing way!


Except Cressey didn’t say that half his presale buyers are foreign & may rescind offers. He said 14% of his presale buyers are foreign and that of the people rescinding about 50% are residents and 50% non-residents.

You can read his letter here:


I have heard through the grapevine that a number of these buyers are simply buying somewhere else vs pulling their cash out of the market. in fact, a neighbor of mine did precisely that and is actively looking in victoria.

in a strange twist, the more messed up this gets, the worse clark’s chances are for re-election. are these people that inept or will public outcry for either a revision of the new law or shelving of it entirely force her to give everybody what they want (allowing herself to keep her job in the process). maybe this a play out of the classic bankster crook handbook…create a little chaos, dodge the blowback then come up with solution to the problem. everybody happy again, RE prices make new highs as signal that all systems are go for launch enabled.


So this guy is all butt-hurt that they have had some pre-sales cancelled. Big deal. They will just resell them later and still make money; maybe just not as much. His phony concern for the buyers is nauseating. Then he makes up some imaginary scenario about someone buying an apartment building. But this imaginary person would be from some other country since he has to pay the 15%, and obviously does not live in Canada, and is A.K.A. a speculator and we should feel sorry for them? Boo-Hoo. These developers have had it too easy for too long.

Bear Vancouverite

Here’s the part that everyone needs to really focus on with the reaction of the Dan Morrison and Cressey: The industry has been very vocal about how small a role Foreign Investors play in our market prices. If that is true, this tax is not going to be a big problem for them at all, especially as all of the industry folks always start by talking about how important affordability is to them as well. Instead, as you can see, 50% of buyers who are rescinding their offers to buy are not foreign. This clearly points to the fact that the perception of foreign buyers has a very strong effect on the buying behaviour of locals. Regardless of the discussion of building more supply to meet demand, we must stand firm on this tax and implement ever greater measures to… Read more »


B.S, why would they walk away from a deposit rather than just try to assign.

Rocker Guy

Not at all surprising. Condos are so much better than trusting your money with banks in China, which could arbitrarily seize your cash and put you in jail to boot.


“Former MP Garth Turner points finger at governments for “crap houses” costing a million bucks”, Georgia Straight

“”In fact for decades, there’ve been strong pro-real estate measures enacted by every successive group of politicians, leading us directly to now—when the average family can no longer afford the average home,” Turner writes. “Artificially-low borrowing rates, government-backed mortgage insurance, legislated 5% down payments, RRSP homebuyer loans, first-timers grants, property tax rebates, land transfer tax exemptions—the list of interventions is endless. So now crap houses cost a million. Good job, government.””


We all know now why Garth denied HAM. He wants lots to come into Canada and eventually into his management firm

Guy donates pension so he can con locals into thinking how he is such a generous guy…all the while he cons an elderly couple to sell their Vancouver home and invest the proceeds with him.

Deception akin to Madoff?


Turner cannot seem to separate the two issues of Canadians with their home grown bubble and the issue of foreign buyers. He acknowledges the first issue but refuses to see the second issue of HAM.


“Rennie and others have used the very real phenomenon of anti-Chinese racism to deflect attention from their industry’s rampant corruption….Racism should never be ignored or denied. But nor should it be cynically used to divert from a much needed investigation and debate about the real estate industry and the housing affordability crisis. The problem isn’t foreign capital per se; the real problem is capital. Or, more specifically, the problem is that we have allowed the accumulation of capital to trump all other considerations. The real problem isn’t where the wealthy investors are coming from, but that we have an industry and government serving the interests of the wealthy above all else.” I disagree that this is “the” only problem. It may be the most deeply rooted problem, but isn’t there also a second important problem that has to do with… Read more »


4 years 9 months ago
As I (and other posters) have said, the perception that some monied group of buyers is willing to pay inflated prices is used as a rationalization by everyone else to pay those inflated prices. It’s the same in every bubble market, it’s just that the identity of these exotic buyers varies.


that’s patriotz’s post.


And he was right. 90% of sales were to Canadians and they paid, on average, no less than the foreigners.

Rollercoast Down

Wow haven’t seen this many comments in quite sometime…. price reductions are evident and listings are up….2 listing in my complex still unsold after 3 weeks…when the music stops find a chair!


when the CMHC said things you disagreed with you thought they were corrupt shills. now that they are saying things that you like hearing you think they are credible.

that’s bearlogic.


CMHC is just as wrong as they always were. Things are always worse then they claim.


how can you show your face on this blog after being wrong about everything for almost a decade?

have you no shame?