B.C. finance minister says speculation tax will tackle housing crisis

The British Columbia government has introduced a speculation and vacancy tax that Finance Minister Carole James says will moderate the overheated housing market and create more homes for renters.

According to British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James, the province's speculation tax will help tackle housing affordability. Photo by Nathan Ziemanski via Unsplash.
According to British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James, the province’s speculation and vacancy tax will help tackle housing affordability by opening up supply for renters. Photo by Nathan Ziemanski via Unsplash.

James says the aim of the tax is to improve housing affordability for thousands of people, including seniors forced to live in their vehicles and young professionals who leave the province because they can’t find a place to live.

The proposed tax is calculated at rates of 0.5 per cent, one per cent or two per cent of assessed value of homes in core, urban centres, with the highest rate applied to foreign owners and so-called satellite families.

James says the new legislation includes provisions for exemptions based on special circumstances such as people seeking medical treatment or those with disabilities.

The government’s introduction of the tax in February’s budget was met with widespread criticism from people with second homes, communities and developers saying it targets them unfairly and could impact local economies.

James says her government is tackling the housing crisis head on and the speculation and vacancy tax is an essential piece of that plan.

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