Category Archives: politics

Seller raises price then offers tax discount to foreign buyers.

Here’s a good way to get your listing in the news:

One Metro Vancouver realtor says he will cut the sale price of his own Richmond home by 15 per cent for any international buyer, in a response to the province’s new levy against foreign citizens who want in on the region’s overheated housing market.

Eddy Chen says a person from Mainland China was in the midst of completing the paperwork on the purchase of his $1.98-million house last week when the government announced its new tax, which comes into effect Tuesday. The buyer walked away after the government’s surprise announcement because they could not get a home inspection or mortgage approved fast enough to avoid an extra $298,000 brought on by the new levy, he said.

“They said they don’t think it’s fair to foreign buyers, so they want to wait and see what happens [to the market],” he said. “There’s no point for them to rush it through, because they thought they were ripped off by those extra taxes.”

Now, he has upped the price to $2.35-million, but says he will take 15 per cent off for any foreign citizen hit by the new property transfer tax so they “have an equal opportunity to get the property.”

Thank goodness there’s still a sense of decency and fairness in the world.  Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.

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.

No more self-regulation for BC real estate

The premiere is talking tough about self-regulation in BC real estate:

“The real estate sector has had 10 years to get it right on self regulation and they haven’t,” said Clark at a Vancouver new conference.

Clark said the right to regulate the industry will be taken away from the Real Estate Council of B.C.and put into the hands of a newly established and dedicated superintendent of real estate.

“The point of regulation is to protect people, to protect consumers,” she said. “Self regulation is a privilege.”

Too little too late or just in time? Read the full article over at the CBC.

An empty home tax for Vancouver

Mayor Gregor Robertson has announced that Vancouver will move ahead with a tax on empty or under-occupied homes with our without the support of the provincial government.

The city’s report states the preferred option is for the provincial government to create and administer a new class of “residential vacant” property through BC Assessment. The designation would trigger the city to charge extra taxes on empty or under-occupied investment properties.

The second option is for the city to establish a new business tax for empty and under-occupied homes held as investment properties.

Premier Clark responded on twitter saying “We are reviewing your report and will respond quickly.”

Read the full article over at the CBC.

Ask David Eby anything at noon today

David Eby is definitely one of the most vocal politicians in Vancouver when it comes to issues around housing.

Have you ever wanted to ask him a question?

Now’s your chance. Eby will be hosting an ‘ask me anything’ thread on reddit today at noon (June 22nd)

His first comment on that thread:

I’m looking forward to it. A bit nervous, I’m expecting challenging questions on this important issue. I’ll do my best to answer, or to find the answers for you. I’m also interested to hear suggestions for policy opportunities and what you think needs to be done to respond to the housing crisis. See you then!

Let us know in the comments below if you spot anything note-worthy.

David Eby AMA June 22nd 12pm on Reddit.