Time for taxes in Vancouver, investors argue

International buyers in Vancouver should pay a premium tax rate when purchasing property, similar to the 15 per cent tax on non-residents that Hong Kong has implemented.

That is the call by frustrated local investors who blame international buyers for driving prices up in the market. And the situation could get worse for local buyers, according to the latest housing forecast from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

“British Columbia is still forecast to post the strongest sales increase in 2014 (+8.4 per cent), reflecting the return to of activity to more normal levels compared to a weak start to the year in 2013. Most other provinces are forecast to post gains in the range between two and four per cent,” the report states.

The average price of a house is expected to increase by 2.5 per cent to $549,000 in 2014, according to CREA.  Over 72,000 properties exchanged hands in 2013, up seven per cent compared to 2012.

Despite increasing vocal concern from investors and first-time buyers, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson says officials do not want to take any rash actions that might impact investment in the city.
With real estate prices rising by 26 per cent in the last year, Robertson is arguing that Hong Kong had to take such a drastic step, adding that Vancouver is not at that stage and they “may have to take action in the future if it’s warranted.”

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