The BC government has announced new rules that require purchasers to reveal citizenship details:
The new requirements, aimed at answering whether foreign ownership is driving up housing prices, go beyond the data that are supposed to be collected for Canada’s anti-money-laundering agency whenever someone is involved in a real estate transaction. Records show there is significant non-compliance among Vancouver-area real estate firms, which are required to collect the information for the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FinTRAC).
B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said he is confident provincial auditors will be more successful. “The objective here is to get beyond the theory, get beyond the conjecture and the speculation and actually have hard data,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
They also announced new requirements to deal with bare trusts:
The new disclosure rules will also create new data on the use of bare trusts, after an investigative report in The Globe showed how such trusts may be used to transfer property ownership without paying the property transfer tax. Mr. de Jong said the data, which must be provided on the new property transfer tax return form, will be shared with Revenue Canada.
Such data are supposed to be collected under Canadian law, but a federal audit of paperwork in Vancouver realty offices found many instances where required filings were significantly lacking.
And of course the dreaded ‘shadow flipping‘:
The new regulation – which applies only to licensed realtors – will not ban contract assignment but seeks to ensure that the seller consents to such an arrangement and is the one who profits if the property is resold before the deal is closed.
So presumably the best way to continue shadow flipping is to avoid being a licensed realtor. Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.
Those of you who complain about the local real estate market should calm down and take a moment to reflect on the benefits of the current situation.
Without financial support from real estate developers how would the provincial government be able to provide necessities like salary top-ups for the premiere?
Without fundraising by condo marketers it would be you the taxpayer that would have to pay for that extra $300k given to the premiere since 2011.
And if you’re concerned about conflicts of interest, don’t be! The premiere herself has addressed this issue:
‘The issue for us is to make sure we always separate our public duties from any sources of funding for political parties, and I think that’s the most important thing for all of us to remember,” Clark has reportedly said in defense of the stipend. ”I always keep that utmost in my mind when we’re making decisions.”
If you want to read David Ebys concerns about the current situation, you can find them over at the Tyee but just remember, he’s likely motivated by sour grapes or jealousy. After all, Eby has been stuck with the MLA responsibilities for Vancouver Point Grey for the last few years while Clark gets to enjoy Kelowna.
House prices continue to spiral upwards as more 25-44 year olds continue to leave the city. So who’s fault is it?
One recent study says blame politicians:
Given their policies, Ley’s paper questions how politicians, particularly B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman, found it possible to argue in 2015 that Vancouver housing prices were “pretty reasonable” and that foreign ownership of property had nothing to do with government.
“Yet it most certainly did, for governments had for 30 years led trade and investment missions to Asia, and had used the tool of business immigration to draw in entrepreneurs and their capital.”
The inflated housing prices that have resulted in large part from new East Asian wealth are especially devastating for young and middle-aged Metro Vancouverites, Ley said in a recent talk sponsored by City in Focus.
A study by SFU researcher Andy Yan found that Metro’s university-educated adults earn the lowest wages on average in Canada’s 10 largest cities, Ley said. Many are “disillusioned” and leaving the city.
Read the full article over at the Vancouver Sun.
Did you go to the emergency town hall meeting on housing in Vancouver last night? David Eby hosted with seating for 650, with the CBC reporting attendance of over 700.
“These are serious issues, this is a major crisis, and we want the provincial government to take it seriously,” said NDP MLA David Eby, who organized it.
The event started with Eby citing a long list of media stories highlighting questionable real estate practices and how housing practices have caused residents to leave the region.
Eby said the region’s real estate is governed by “runaway speculation” that is “unpoliced, unregulated and rampant.”
The CBC article has a live blog from the event if you missed it and are curious. Will events like this have any effect on Vancouver house prices or will non-owners eventually move away leaving the city as a home owners paradise?
Concerned about the housing market in Vancouver and think something should be done about affordability? You probably believe foreign buyers are partly to blame for running up prices.
You’re probably a racist.
Unfortunately it seems we live in a city full of racists as more and more people express concerns about things like assignment flipping, livable teardowns and empty homes. Or at least you can call them racists in an effort to shut down the discussion.
David Fine writes in the Huffington Post:
We are both assured that foreign investment is actually not a significant issue and at the same time, by the same people, told that any restrictions on foreign property investment would cause serious damage to our home equity, the construction industry and the residential sales industry.
Guess what, it can’t be both! There really is no doubt that foreign property investment is a significant part of home sales in Vancouver and real estate companies know it. They have offices in China and appeal directly to offshore buyers through advertising in Chinese media. It’s big business and it’s fuelling rampant speculation.
This is about foreign money, not foreign people. We have duties and tariffs on all kinds of foreign goods and industries to protect our economy. Why nothing on our homes?
Read the full article here.