BC’s new property tax adds $115m to affordable-housing fund

British Columbia’s new speculation and vacancy tax has injected $115 million into a fund to create more affordable housing, the provincial government said.

The Finance Ministry said that foreign owners, satellite families, and those with vacant homes make up about 80% of those assessed the tax. Ministry information showed that out of the 123,029 affected owners, 4,585 are foreign owners, just over 1,500 are Canadians living outside the province, and 2,410 are BC residents.

Over 3,200 satellite families – those that report most of their income outside of Canada – are also required to pay the tax applied at 0.5% of assessed value this year, rising to 2% for them and foreign owners next year.

On average, the ministry said that homes captured by the tax are 46% more expensive than homes that were exempted in the taxable areas.

Finance Minister Carole James said that funds from the assessment would help address the housing crisis in the province.

“The speculation and vacancy tax was designed to make sure foreign owners, satellite families, and people who use local services without paying income tax in BC contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy in this province,” James said.

James said that she would further analyze the tax in September, when she meets with mayors from the municipalities where it’s applied, according to a report by The Canadian Press.

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