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Real estate industry casts doubt on B.C.’s housing affordability plan

‘We don’t see it having any positive impact on affordability,’ says Urban Development Institute CEO

When the provincial government pitched its sweeping housing measures in the B.C. budget this week, it was in the name of affordability.

But the plan has left some in the real estate industry questioning whether it will make housing affordable at all.

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“We don’t see it having any positive impact on affordability — in fact, it could drive prices up,” said Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute, which represents B.C.’s real estate development industry.

She pointed first to the increase in the property transfer tax — from three to five per cent — for homes worth more than $3 million, calling it detrimental to the ability to create affordable housing.

“When you’re increasing the taxes on the ability to buy land to develop, that can slow down supply because of the high cost. And when you slow down supply, prices go up.”

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