The B.C. government is preparing more moves to improve urban housing affordability, and is satisfied with the early results of the foreign buyer tax, Premier Christy Clark says.
While real estate prices in Metro Vancouver have remained high, the pace of sales has slowed by more than 20 per cent since an additional 15 per cent property transfer tax was imposed Aug. 2 on buyers who are not citizens or permanent residents.
“There’s a real affordability crisis, particularly in the Lower Mainland. That’s why we made the changes that we did,” Clark said Tuesday. “So when I see the new numbers and they tell us that they’ve slowed down the price increases for housing, I say good, because that’s what we were trying to do. We’re going to have a lot more to do, and we’ll watch the numbers in the coming months, but I think it’s a good start.”
Clark said it’s too early to assess the effect of the new tax, but the government has no plans to change the foreign buyer tax rate or the new “luxury tax” on homes valued at more than $2 million.
With municipal politicians gathering in Victoria to meet with cabinet ministers in late September, Clark suggested they should be prepared to deal with the short supply of urban housing.
“We’ve heard that there’s something like 150,000 units that are today languishing in the planning departments of cities,” Clark said. “Some of them have been sitting there for seven years, It’s not a question of are we going to do more, because we are going to do more.”