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'We are going to do more', Clark vows more action on housing

Last Updated Sep 6, 2016 at 7:58 pm PDT

Premier Christy Clark speaking in Vancouver (June 29, 2016) (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Clark hints that her government may pressure cities to free up their housing inventory

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Premier Christy Clark says the controversial 15 per cent tax on foreign real estate buyers in Metro Vancouver appears to be working as intended.

Since the tax kicked in at the beginning of August, home sales dropped 26 per cent year over year, signalling a return to more typical levels.

“When I see the new numbers, and they tell us that we’ve slowed down the price increases for housing, I say ‘good’, because that’s what we were trying to do,” Clark told reporters in Vancouver today.

The benchmark price for detached properties reached $1.57 million last month, representing a 12-month increase of 35.8 per cent. However, compared with July, the figure was down 0.1 per cent.

While the premier said changes to the new legislation are not an option, her government will be doing even more to try to address housing affordability in Metro Vancouver, specifically on the supply side.

Without giving away specifics, Clark said her government will look at ways to ensure cities are moving some of their housing inventory.

“We’ve heard that there’s something like 150,000 units that are today languishing in planning departments of cities. Some have been there for seven years,” Clark adds.

Several groups have raised concerns about the foreign buyer’s tax, even before it took effect. Some experts have cited its impacts on Canadian sellers, while others say it violates the North American Free Trade Agreement.