Andrew Weaver releases B.C. Green Party Affordable Homes Strategy

April 11, 2017

VANCOUVER B.C. - Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, released party’s Affordable Homes Strategy today in Vancouver. The strategy aims to cool the overheated housing market, increase the availability of affordable housing and provide greater protections for renters.

“The policies of the B.C. Liberal government have left British Columbians with an affordability crisis,” said Weaver. “Thousands of British Columbians spend more than half their income on rent, a growing number face homelessness and many feel the dream of owning a home is out of reach. In a province as wealthy as ours, it is reprehensible that so many people are struggling to see a secure future for themselves.

“The B.C. Green Party Affordable Homes Strategy is bold, based on evidence and recognizes that the first job of the housing market must be to provide homes for the people who live here, not investment for those wealthy enough to speculate on it. If we take action now, we can build a province where everyone feels secure and optimistic about their future.”

Key measures of the strategy include:

1. Cooling the market for residential real estate:

  • Work with the Federal government to introduce measures to eliminate money laundering and international property speculation from the B.C. residential real estate market.

  • Enhance the progressive nature of the property transfer tax (PTT) by introducing a sliding scale of rates from 0% on the first $200,000 of property’s value, to 12% on property value over $3.0 million. For properties under $1 million, PTT will decline.

  • Apply the PTT to the transfer of beneficial ownership.

  • Introduce a “speculation” PTT to discourage flipping of property.

  • Expand the foreign buyers tax to apply across the province, and increase the rate to 30% in addition to the PTT payable.

  • Introduce measures to tax lifetime capital gains in excess of $750,000 on principal residences.

  • Work with financial institutions and the federal government to develop protections for recent homebuyers who are negatively affected by market cooling initiatives.

  • A B.C. Green Government will begin the transition from home owner grants (HOG) to a system of income-based grants starting in 2019.

  • Introducing a progressive property tax system that imposes a surtax based on property value; and allows homeowners to credit rental income and their previous year’s B.C. income tax against the surtax.

2.  Increasing the supply of affordable housing:

  • Investing up to $750 million per year in capital expenditures to construct approximately 4,000 new units of affordable housing per year.

  • Work with Federal and Local governments to make land available for the construction of affordable housing.

  • Work with social housing agencies and Federal and Local governments to develop and implement a provincial housing plan to address deficiencies in the supply of affordable rental accommodation based on priority needs.

  • Lead a comprehensive rethink of zoning to ensure that it is consistent with government objectives such as the provision of affordable housing. Issues for consideration include densification, especially along transit corridors; revitalizing neighbourhoods surrounding schools; cultural and social amenities; and complete communities.

  • Protect existing social housing and reduce operating costs by investing $100 million per year in retrofits and renovations of older units.

3. Protecting tenants and landlords:

  • Enhance the provisions of the Residential Tenancy Act to control rent increases, and to protect tenants from tenure termination that will result in the loss of affordable accommodation.

  • Work with B.C. Housing to enable the inclusion of private rental properties in their directly managed portfolio of affordable accommodation.

The B.C. Green Party Affordable Homes Strategy will also maintain or enhance existing housing support programs in the context of the suite of initiatives to address income insecurity.

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Media contact

B.C. Green Party
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | jillian.oliver@bcgreens.ca

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