The Green Party of British Columbia is calling on the provincial government to offer more specifics on how it will define success in tackling the housing affordability crisis via its newly unveiled 30-point plan.
“What outcomes is the government actually looking for with the plan it’s putting forward? We've been stonewalled ... and that’s troubling,” said Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. “Public policy is there to design and reach an outcome, and the public deserves to know the direction government is trying to take us.”
In last Tuesday’s budget, Finance Minister Carole James announced an array of housing-related taxes, including an increase of 3-5% on the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) for properties valued at over $3m, as well as a Speculation Tax that would be applied to vacant homes in large metro areas.
James has been vague to both the Green Party and the media regarding the Horgan government’s precise goals, emphasizing that they were looking to “moderate the market” several times last week.
Left unsaid were the precise metrics the government would be using to define affordability, such as the benchmark prices of homes and the ratio of median house prices to incomes.
“We’re going to be watching this housing plan closely. There may be changes that need to occur. ... This tax is the first in the country, so we're going to monitor it as we go along,” James said.
Weaver added that without clearly articulated goals, there’s the risk the housing market could abruptly crash.
“Let the air come out slowly so the market can stabilize over time. This is what we’re hoping to see an outcome with, but we’re not getting any direction in that regard,” he said.