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Vancouver real-estate prices still climbing, but tax changes could have impact, report says

By Rob Shaw for Vancouver Sun

VICTORIA — Greater Vancouver’s real-estate prices continue to climb out of reach of most ordinary families, but the province’s new measures to tackle housing affordability may have an impact on the market, according to a new report by credit-rating agency DBRS.

The DBRS fourth-quarter, Canadian-housing-indicators report, released Monday, said the average resale price in what it deemed the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA) was up six per cent from last year, and has largely recovered from an almost 18-per-cent fall after the B.C. government introduced the foreign-buyer’s tax in 2016.

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“Similarly, sales volume in the GVA had been recovering but is still below the levels seen before the introduction of the foreign-buyers tax,” read the report. “Geographical expansion of the levy, the increase in the tax rate and the additional speculation tax to be introduced in fall 2018 could have further implications on market stabilization going forward.”

Premier John Horgan’s new speculation tax is part of a suite of reforms his government has said it hopes will cool the real-estate market, reduce foreign investment that results in empty suites and increase the province’s rental stock. However, critics have warned that the government has merely increased uncertainty with unclear tax changes that may have unintended consequences.

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