Absentee Homeowner Tax Supported by Vancouverites

77% of Vancouverites are in support of the absentee homeowner tax as stated by the latest issue of Insights West poll.

This past May an online survey was taken to determine the support and opinion of the local Vancouverites regarding the absentee homeowner tax to help restrict the amount of foreign real estate investment in BC.  With specific focus to the Vancouver area.

This survey showed that 73 percent of BC residents were in favor of the tax, and the majority of this support came from the residents of Metro Vancouver as 77 percent voted favourably.  Also, the age group that were the most supportive of the new tax were aged 18-34. 

Not everyone is in favour of this proposed new tax though. 35 percent of East Asian residents believe the restriction on foreign ownership is racist, and 21 percent of all BC residents agree with this opinion as well.

Overall though, it is a general thought that absentee owners (or people that do no reside in homes they own) is harmful for the community and neighborhood where their house is a part of.  As a whole, 86 percent of people believe that the absentee owners are speculators and do not become a part of the community. That percentage jumped up to 92 percent among people in the highest income bracket.

When asked about the subject, Mario Canseco, Vice President of Public Affairs at Insights West stated that: “Homeowners actually see some benefits from foreign ownership when it comes to the possibility of an increased value for their property.” But she also went on to say that “still, many residents are voicing dissatisfaction with the fact that these empty homes are having a negative effect on their community.”

One key person strongly in favor of the proposed tax is Mayor Gregor Robertson. He explained in a statement last week that: “Vancouver needs the B.C. Government to take action on creating a speculation tax and recognize that we need a fair and level playing field to make housing more affordable for residents in Vancouver, and throughout the province.”

This opinion of the Mayor and his office was announced a short week after the opposite opinion was stated by Premier Christy Clark.  She stated that the idea of a tax on foreign real estate investors would not be approached as the “housing prices will drop” if these changes are made.

She also went on to say in May that: “that’s good for first-time home buyers but not for anybody who is depending on the equity in their home to maybe get a loan or use that to finance some other projects.”

Time will only tell what decision is reached with regards to this new absentee homeowner tax.

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