Premier says 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers will ease

BC Premier Christy Clark says the 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers in Metro Vancouver will soon no longer apply to some buyers.
Foreign buyers with temporary work permits that allow them to work and live in British Columbia will no longer have to pay the tax, said Clark on Sunday. She made the statement to reporters while she was marching in Vancouver’s Lunar New Year parade, but the government has yet to release a formal announcement or a timeline when the change might happen.
“We believe the best and the brightest should be able to come to B.C.,” Clark told reporters.
The tax on foreign home buyers in Metro Vancouver was implemented on Aug. 2 as a way to temper housing prices the government said had risen out of reach of many locals because of wealthy foreign buyers.
“We need to make sure that we do everything we can to try and keep houses affordable,” said Clark when she first introduced the tax.
The chilling effect of the tax was felt almost immediately.
From June 10, when the government started tracking foreign buyers, to Aug. 1, foreign buyers accounted for more than 13 per cent of home purchases in Metro Vancouver. After the tax kicked in, the BC government reported only .9 per cent of Metro Vancouver homes sold in August went to foreign buyers.
A host of other government interventions like changes to mortgage rules and qualifications for mortgage insurance may have contributed to the 2.2 per cent drop in the benchmark price of a typical home in Metro Vancouver over the last half of 2016.