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Addressing Housing Affordability Through Legislation

posted on 11:23 AM, May 11, 2018

A bevy of new taxes, in the Lower Mainland and neighbouring areas, are going to make housing more affordable. Unless they aren’t.

“Ask a Lawyer” columnist John McLachlan, RI, took a closer look at the new taxes. “The view at the government level, rightly or wrongly, is that the source of the rampant increases in residential housing value and lack of affordable rental inventory is due to foreign investment in the residential real estate market,” writes McLachlan. “In response, both provincial and municipal governments have implemented various taxes in an effort to dampen prices and increase supply in the residential housing market.”

The property transfer tax, as of February 2018, and the school tax, as of 2019, will tax “luxury” homes—those over $3 million—at higher rates.

The foreign buyer tax, applied via the property transfer tax, taxes foreign nationals and foreign corporations who buy residential property at a higher rate. Implemented in 2016 at 15%, the tax increased to 20% in February 2018.

The BC Government has also announced plans to implement a speculation tax on residential property. The tax is intended to target owners of residential property in British Columbia who do not pay taxes in the province and owners who leave their properties vacant.

In Vancouver, a vacancy tax, effective this year, is being applied (with some exceptions) to homes that sit vacant.

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Read more about this new legislation in “Ask a Lawyer,” in the Spring 2018 issue of Input, page 23. Download Spring 2018

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