Foreign buyers have flocked to one of Vancouver’s most hotly anticipated housing developments, raising new questions about whether it’s time government intervened in the city’s increasingly unaffordable real estate market.
B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman dismissed the idea of provincial intervention, however, arguing it would be unfair to people who have already invested in housing, including locals.
“The real estate economy has been a free market economy for decades and people have made significant investments based on that,” Coleman said.
“And to go out and decide that we’re going to put those investments at risk for British Columbians and folks that own property in B.C. doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.””
And here is another from Christy Clark.
Realtor Lorne Goldman estimates 25 per cent of his clients are foreign. While countries like Australia have put limits on what foreign investors can buy, Goldman wonders whether similar restrictions in B.C. “could backfire.”
Some fear such limits could stall the city’s real estate market, a sentiment shared by B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
“By trying to move foreign buyers out of the market, housing prices overall will drop,” said Clark. “That’s good for first-time home buyers but not for anybody who is depending on the equity in their home to maybe get a loan or use that to finance some other projects.”
So there you have it. The BC Liberals have spoken, and what they are saying is:
- Foreign buying is driving up the price of housing.
- They don’t want to stop it because it will decrease the windfall being enjoyed by long-time homeowners.
For all the lip service given to affordable housing, it’s clear from their actions that no level of government is interested in pursuing any policies which could actually make home ownership affordable to anyone who isn’t already on the gravy train. In other words, “Let them rent”.