By Premier John Horgan
When our government came into office 15 months ago, we inherited one of the biggest challenges in B.C.’s history: the housing affordability crisis. For young families starting out, seniors, students, and business owners looking to keep talented workers here, the housing crisis hurts everyone.
For too long, the old government refused to act as the crisis spread throughout our province. They let speculators abuse loopholes and fuel a hot real estate market. The housing crisis was left to spiral out of control. Now, we have near-zero vacancy rates and the most unaffordable housing prices in Canada.
We’re tackling the housing crisis head-on because we believe people who live and work in B.C. should be able to afford a place to call home. Our government is making the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history, including affordable rentals for middle-income families, student, social, Indigenous and seniors housing.
We’ve also taken strong steps to tackle fraud and speculation in the housing market. The speculation tax is a key part of that plan, and necessary to moderate the housing market. And it’s starting to work.
According to experts, including RBC, the Canadian Real Estate Association, and Sotheby’s, the speculation and vacancy tax and other measures introduced by the Province are helping to cool the housing market, and moderate prices and rents. The tax is also overwhelmingly supported by people in B.C. Recent polls show that public support for the speculation tax is between 77 and 88 per cent.
Anyone can avoid the tax by renting out their home for at least six months of the year. It is estimated that 99 per cent of British Columbians will not pay the tax, and the only ones who will pay are those with vacant homes in the areas hardest hit by the housing crisis.
We think it’s fair to ask people fortunate enough to own multiple homes to either rent them or pay the speculation tax to help build more affordable housing. Most people in B.C. agree.
The housing crisis was not created overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight. People in B.C. should be able to afford a place to call home, and the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families.
We’re tackling the housing crisis and working hard to make life more affordable, improve the services people count on, and build a strong, sustainable economy throughout B.C. It’s part of building a better future for everyone in B.C.