The Vancouver real estate market has constantly been experiencing changes. The changes have been as constant as the stars above. We have constantly seen variations in housing prices, housing sales and foreign buyer tax. Also, the Vancouver housing market has been defined by phrases like ‘bubble’ and ‘ticking time bomb.’
Continuing with changes, in the month of January 2017, Premier Christy Clark announced that the foreign buyer tax would not apply to individuals with a work permit. Additionally, the Finance Minister said that the B.C government is even considering refunding the foreign buyer tax to some buyers.
Lately, B.C. government plans to further unveil new exemptions and rebates in the coming week for the foreign home buyer tax on Metro Vancouver housing market.
With another decision made by the government, it seems that the stars of international inhabitants are finally in alignment as foreign residents with work permits who have been paying taxes in B.C. will no longer be required to pay the foreign buyer surcharge. This is an attempt made by the B.C. government to be able to hire some high-tech workers from the United States. Moreover, those foreign natives who were smacked by the 15 % foreign home buyer tax last year on their real estate properties, but became Canadian nationals after a few months, could also possibly get a refund.
If people think the changes are an acknowledgment from the Liberals that the surprising tax on foreigners previous year was crafted very swiftly, reached too far or had several unexpected repercussion, one should think again.
Premier Christy Clark stated in the legislature last week, "the tax on foreign purchasers in British Columbia has done exactly what the government and what citizens hoped it would do, and that is slow down the tremendous growth in the cost of housing in the Lower Mainland." Her declaration continued with, "We did it. The NDP opposed it. It turned out that it did exactly what we expected it would do."
Later in the house, Christy Clark claimed "I know the foreign tax was not popular with developers," she further added, "but I do know that it’s popular with British Columbians ... It’s been popular because it works."
Housing Affordability Crisis Continues
Even after such rhetoric statements, the housing affordability crisis is still persistent in the Lower Mainland.
Though, the Premier has said that the goal was to keep the possession of houses within reach of the middle-class section of the city, NDP critic is of the opinion that Premier couldn’t keep up to her promise.
Home Price Index for Greater Vancouver, Feb 2017
The prices of properties are still not affordable by people as they were before the foreign buyer tax was laid. These exemptions are one of the last jerks to the government’s suite of housing reforms before the government moves forward to the elections on May 9.
There has been a lot of discussion and debate regarding the matter. David Eby, Douglas Todd, Anne McMullin and Tom Davidoff have been consistently stating and suggesting several ways to balance out the housing issues in Vancouver.