Vancouver’s in the midst of a serious housing crisis, that much is clear.
What’s less clear is what, exactly should be done about it. The voices calling for drastic action are growing louder.
For many, the idea of a ban on foreign buying of real estate is no longer considered a radical idea – neither is revolutionizing property taxes, or joining forces with Beijing tax collectors. The cry is to simply do something big enough that it will turn this runaway train around.
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BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver released a document last month that outlined a host of housing measures, including a ban on foreign buyers purchasing existing housing in B.C. The idea is that foreigners can continue to purchase new builds, pumping money into the economy by investing in new supply. But existing homes would be off limits. Australia and New Zealand have introduced that type of foreign-buying restriction. The Green Party, which holds the balance of power in B.C. legislature, also wants restrictions on foreign purchases of Agricultural Land Reserve. Mr. Weaver said he’s received data that thousands of hectares of B.C. farmland has been purchased by mainland China buyers in order to grow hay for shipment to China. Attorney-General David Eby raised that issue as well, when he was Opposition housing critic.