A foreign buyers tax will do little to cool the British Columbia housing markets where it’s been expanded, as international purchasers make up only a small percentage of sales and lack of supply is the bigger problem, real estate groups say.
Metro Vancouver has had a 15 per cent tax on foreign home purchasers since 2016. The province announced Tuesday it would hike the levy to 20 per cent and impose it in the Victoria and Nanaimo areas, as well as the Fraser Valley and central Okanagan.
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The changes took effect Wednesday, catching some industry groups off guard.
“I don’t know anybody who was thinking we needed this tax,” said Tanis Read, president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board. “I’m very troubled by the lack of consultation.”
Foreign transactions made up 1.8 per cent of purchases in the central Okanagan, 1.4 per cent in the Fraser Valley, 4.3 per cent in the Victoria area and 4.4 per cent in the Nanaimo area, provincial data compiled by the B.C. Real Estate Association shows.