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Is money laundering driving the B.C. real estate bus?

By Tyler Orton for Business in Vancouver

A simple addition and subtraction equation might not add up to the right answer when calculating money laundering’s impact on the B.C. economy, according to some experts.

A May report led by Simon Fraser University public policy professor and former B.C. deputy attorney general Maureen Maloney concluded $5.3 billion was laundered through the province’s real estate market in 2018.

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This activity in turn inflated homes prices by 3.7% to 7.5%, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) estimated in 2016 about one-third of the province’s economic growth was tied to what it described as the residential real estate industrial complex: home building, home renovation, real estate sales, mortgage underwriting, home appraisals and other linked activities.

So what would happen, in theory, to the B.C. economy if money laundering were to instantly evaporate?

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