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Impact of foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver bigger than expected: BC gov't

Last Updated Jul 26, 2016 at 5:20 pm PST

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A longer, five-week set of data on foreign investment in Metro Vancouver real estate released by the province shows the problem may be larger than the first numbers suggested.

Data collected between June 10th and July 14th shows 6.6 per cent of residential transactions in BC involved foreign buyers. The percentage in Metro Vancouver was 9.7.

The province also has figures for many municipalities. The City of Vancouver was close to average at 10.9 per cent. Surrey’s was 8.4 per cent. Two suburbs adjacent to Vancouver seem the most affected by foreign investment. About 18 per cent of buyers in Richmond and Burnaby were considered foreign.

The interest from abroad may wane once the BC government’s new 15 per cent property transfer tax on residential real estate purchases by foreign nationals or foreign-controlled companies comes into effect.

BC’s finance minister is planning to separate the data collected now and numbers coming in after the tax kicks in. Mike de Jong says their tracking will allow them to make adjustments to the new PTT if necessary.

“You can see presently…a relatively small number of foreign nationals involved in the capital region residential real estate. The mayor and others have commented, and I think appropriately so, that this will bear watching to see if it changes post-August 2nd and you’re aware that we have the opportunity or the option to expand the application of additional property transfer tax.”

The province also has the ability to change the size of the new tax once more information is available.