VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the housing affordability crisis continues in this province, it appears many people want further restrictions placed on foreign buyers. A new poll from Insights West asks people what they’d like to see done to improve the situation in our province.
Seventy per cent of people polled want taxation on foreign investment — something that’s recently come into effect here in Metro Vancouver with the introduction of the 15 per cent foreign buyers tax in August. Meantime, a further 67 per cent want limitations on foreign investment.
Economist Tom Davidoff with UBC’s Sauder School of Business says that’s a fair position for people to take but other things need to happen too. “I think you need both — supply and demand solutions. We’ve seen a lot on the demand side, we’ve seen positive steps with the foreign buyers tax that does reduce demand. We’ve seen the empty homes tax in Vancouver.”
The poll also found that eight in 10 people feel the impact of foreign buyers and investors has led to higher prices in the local housing market. “I think British Columbians are concerned about affordability, clearly, and they’re concerned one reason Vancouver and some other parts of the province are unaffordable is because of foreign investment.”
As for increasing the housing supply, 45 per cent of people give that suggestion the thumbs up and only one-in-10 say they are in favour of increasing property taxes on single-family homes to push forward high density developments.
The same Insights West poll also uncovered just how worried people are about the housing market. Nearly 75 per cent of respondents say housing is unaffordable where they live and more than 40 per cent of homeowners and 70 per cent of renters plan to either buy or rent a different home sometime in the next five years.
Yesterday, the provincial government announced changes to get more first-time home buyers into the market. The BC Liberals will soon start matching up to five per cent of a home buyer’s down payment, to a maximum of $37,500, in the form of 25-year loan that will be interest and payment free for the first five years.