BC government acting on speculators, vacant homes

By Steve Randall

Property speculators and empty homes are the target of new legislation in British Columbia.

The speculation and vacancy tax proposed earlier in the year, will have an initial rate of 0.5% which the government says 99% of BC residents won’t have to pay.

It said Tuesday that the first-in-Canada measures would mean that BC will have the strongest protections in the country against people seeking to use the housing market as a “resting place” for foreign capital and other investments.

“We believe the people who live and work in B.C. should be able to afford a place to call home. Right now, British Columbians are faced with some of the highest housing prices in the world and there is widespread support for government’s plan to moderate the housing market,” Carole James, Minister of Finance, said. “We’re tackling this housing crisis head-on and the speculation and vacancy tax is an essential piece in our plan.”

The BCREA has welcomed exemptions in Bill 45 which mean the tax won’t be payable by those going through traumatic life events such as illness and divorces or separations; or by owners of properties that are being developed or undergoing renovations.   

Principal residences are exempted and the legislation also has exemptions in place to broadly protect the development of land to support the province’s growing housing supply.

The government says that, since the new tax was proposed, it has had a cooling effect on the province’s housing market.

Revenue raised will be used to boost affordable housing supply in the province.


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