Category Archives: politics

$500 Million for Affordable housing

The BC government has announced that they will fund $500 million of affordable housing projects in the province using money brought in via property transfer taxes and the new foreign buyer tax.

Real estate related taxes are now the single largest revenue generator for the BC government, surpassing the 1.2 billion from gambling and all individual resource industry taxes.  In fact, when you combine all resource industry taxes the cumulative figure only exceeds real estate tax income by a few decimal points.

The BC real estate economy is possibly the finest example of a perpetual motion machine in existence. Taxes raised via real estate goes into buying and building more real estate. Win-win!

There’s a new sheriff in town

In an attempt to bring more regulation and oversight to the BC real estate market a new ‘superintendent of real estate‘ position has been created by the provincial government.

Micheal Noseworthy has been named as the new superintendent of real estate.

He’s an experienced regulator having recently served as a senior government regulator for Yukon. Noseworthy most recently served as superintendent of Real Estate, superintendent of Insurance, registrar of Lotteries and registrar of Medical Practitioners.

“I look forward to drawing upon my experiences as both a regulator and a lawyer with experience in real estate and administrative law to serve the interests of British Columbia’s real estate consumers by working swiftly to implement the reforms initiated by the government,” said Noseworthy in a statement.

Read the full article over at News 1130.

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.