Greens push tough housing policies ahead of BC Budget

The BC Green Party is still pressing for a ban on overseas residents purchasing provincial property, ahead of the upcoming BC Budget announcement

Western Investor
February 1, 2018

andrew weaver
Andrew Weaver, BC Green Party leader, is calling on the NDP to implement a range of measures on housing. | Dan Toulgoet


A new document “Seeking Bold Action: Housing Priorities for Budget 2018,” with tough recommendations for changes to housing policy ahead of February's BC Budget, was released January 31 by the Green Party.

The document sets out the BC Green Party’s #boldaction housing plan, which reiterates calls for a ban on overseas residents buying BC real estate – despite Premier John Horgan recently pouring cold water on the idea.

At a press conference in Victoria Wednesday morning, Green party leader Andrew Weaver said that only people who work, live and pay taxes locally should be able to buy property in Vancouver and BC.

The document also calls for a speculation tax on property being used by absentee investors to park money – taking the form of an annual property tax surcharge, like an empty homes tax. The proposal points out that this would cover existing domestic investors, including BC residents and other Canadians, as well as existing overseas investors.

In addition to the annual absentee investor tax, the plan suggests a tax on short-term flipping of properties. “The tax should be levied on a sliding scale with the highest rate imposed on properties sold within a year, reducing to zero over a given number of years.”

The document also proposes a number of additional measures, including:

  • closing the bare trusts loophole, which allows property owned by a trust to be transferred to an individual or corporation without them having to pay property transfer tax;
  • extending the foreign buyer tax to apply to presales and agricultural land, and allowing municipalities outside Metro Vancouver to opt in;
  • regulating and restricting short-term rentals;
  • rethinking zoning;
  • eliminating the BC HOME down payment loan scheme; and
  • providing means-tested support to those in housing need.

The same day, Vancouver’s sole Green Party councillor, Adriane Carr, tabled a notice of a motion calling on Victoria to restrict foreign buyers in the Vancouver and to tax flipping and speculation, with revenues to go to affordable housing schemes.

Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Media Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, Times Colonist, Prince George Citizen, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also writes and oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condos & Homes, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 23 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist talk radio show on Vancouver's Roundhouse Radio.
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