There are few topics more sprawling, or of more importance, than the state of real estate in British Columbia.
This summer, the legislature was called back into session with two weeks’ notice for the last week of July to debate Bill 28, the Miscellaneous Statutes (Housing Priority Initiatives) Amendment Act, 2016. The bill had four main purposes:
- It added an additional 15% property transfer tax to residential real estate purchased by foreign nationals or foreign-controlled corporations. (‘Foreign nationals’ are individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canadian.)
- It amended the Vancouver Charter to allow the City of Vancouver to implement a vacancy tax.
- It created a Housing Priority Initiatives Fund for provincial projects that will be seeded with $75 million and a portion of the new tax revenue. (It is worth noting that Public Accounts documents indicate that the government brought in $500 million more in property transfer tax revenue this year than anticipated, suggesting to me that the initial injection in the Housing Priority Initiatives Fund should be higher.)
- It implemented recommendations to re-regulate the real estate industry.