Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has been pushing for a ban on non-residents buying B.C. real estate – but B.C.’s Premier poured cold water on the idea January 16, just days before his trip to Asia to discuss trade.
Premier John Horgan told a press conference at the B.C. Legislature January 16, “I just don’t believe that in an open economy [a non-resident buyer ban is] an appropriate way to proceed.
"I do believe we need to knock back speculation and make sure we are penalizing that behaviour in the interest of reducing demand and softening prices."
In response to the example of New Zealand introducing a foreign buyer ban in October 2017, he said, “New Zealand is a small set of islands in the South Pacific. B.C. is the gateway to Canada, and I don’t believe we should be curbing people coming here."
He added, "I'm a child of an immigrant and virtually everyone I see here is a child of an immigrant.”
The previous B.C. Liberal government introduced a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax in August 2016 on Metro Vancouver home purchases, which had the temporary effect of slowing down sales, but the market recovered within a year. However, the tax has likely been a factor in continued slowing price growth at the higher end of the detached-home market.
Horgan said that the upcoming B.C. Budget, to be announced in February, will offer a series of fresh measures aimed at the housing market.