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NDP proposing speculation tax to tackle housing affordability

Last Updated Mar 17, 2016 at 4:14 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Hoping to address the housing crisis head on, the BC NDP has introduced two measures in the legislature. The party feels the bills will make it more affordable for people to buy and own a home.

The Housing Affordability Fund and Speculator Fee Act aims to create a way for government to collect information about speculators treating the housing market here purely as an investment, leaving properties empty rather than renting them out. It would collect a two per cent tax on the assessed value of the property.

“This would be used exclusively for funding housing affordability initiatives in the local areas where the funds are collected,” explains NDP Leader John Horgan. “The tax will not impact residents who pay income tax, rent their homes, have lived in their homes for five years or more, or seniors who are downsizing.”

The Property Transfer Tax Fairness Act looks to stop shadow flippers and international property investors who may find loopholes to avoid paying that tax.

“This bill takes concrete steps towards guaranteeing that everyone can afford a home even in Vancouver where this has been more challenging for young people and employers, allowing it to [remain] the vibrant city that we all want it to be,” explains Horgan.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman says the province has already been looking into all of this.

“The finance minister has already told this house that’s being done. The minister of finance is looking at all of those opportunities with regards to housing, with regards to issues where taxes could be avoided,” says Coleman.