Realtor-candidate runs on foreign buyer concerns

by Vernon Clement Jones04 Sep 2015
A real estate agent and federal candidate is making controls on foreign property buyers – or rather the lack of controls -- an election issue.

The Green Party of Canada is pinning its hopes on Laura-Leah Shaw in the federal riding of Steveston-Richmond East in BC -- .a Realtor promising to change how foreign buyers work in the market.

"Now that the dollar is so low Canada is really on sale, so you want to stop people from making huge profits off people who want to make this their community," she told reporters this week, suggesting large short-term real estate profits need to be "heavily taxed."

Shaw is also calling for a federal housing strategy similar to those already in place across much of the OECD’s membership.

Perceptions that foreign buyers are driving up home prices not only on the Lower Mainland but also in Toronto have stirred concerns about a further compromise of affordability for Canadians. it’s the issue propelling her decision to enter the ring, says Shaw.

"There's always going to be people who do well," she said, “and (there’s) always going to be people who need a hand up, and lately it's been feeling like the less you have, the less you matter, and that's not right.

Housing affordability is a growing part of that problem, argues Shaw, citing that as a top priority to
address if she wins a mandate from the riding’s well-heeled electorate.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper has also used foreign ownership concerns and the effect those buyers may or may not have on escalating real estate prices in Vancouver as a campaign issue. He’s pledging to collect conclusive data on transactions involving international buyers.

But he’s stopping short of agreeing to any additional restrictions on their buying and selling in Canada.


  • by BC Realtor 9/4/2015 1:07:04 PM

    How about foreign buyers pay a higher tax and that money goes towards lowering or eliminating the property transfer tax.

  • by dzzy 9/4/2015 2:41:06 PM

    Foreign investors are already taxed at a higher rate. An American citizen living in Canada that owns a house will pay a 50% capital gains tax. A Canadian their primary residence is tax free. This is all about market conditions. If an investor loses money will the government pay him back the money they lost? A free market attracts investment. People have a choice as to where they want to live. It is a big country. If one chooses a big city like Vancouver or Toronto then they will have to pay what the market dictates. All properties other then a primary residence are taxed at a higher rate when sold. And good luck with any level of government eleminating a tax. A new tax will just be a new tax in our already over taxed society. And right now we have no money for roads, teachers, police, libraries and the list goes on. What we really need are responsible governments and leaders that that are able to do more then work a toilet flusher. Which seems to be where most of our tax dollars go.

  • by Old Timer 9/6/2015 4:55:11 PM

    Real estate flipping thruout the country has been going on now for decades. Flippers were always taxed accordingly. Sure there were some 'loopholes' but our Government at the time chose not to close them. I didn't see any hue and cry from the public or would be buyers at any time. Recently, on the West Coast it has become a game of 'foreign investor bashing'. True, FI's have generated some 'heat in the kitchen' by paying what locals consider extremely exorbitant prices but the FI's consider our real estate a bargain. How one looks at it is dependent on the size of one's bank account. If the heat is too hot in the kitchen (r.e. market) in your area, then go and find another kitchen. Many of us can't afford a Rolls Royce or a Lamborghini. Does this mean the car manufacturer should lower their prices to accommodate us? Fat chance! Their answer would be: go buy a Ford or Chev. Something you can afford. Not all foreign investors(buyers) are flippers. If the Government of BC really wants to help Buyers, then LOWER THE PROPERTY PURCHASE TAX. This cash cow was brought in only as a CASH COW. Who is affected? All buyers in B.C. This would help more people to buy and in turn bolster our economy. The same as most people can't afford to drive a super high end luxury vehicle, so too, most buyers can't afford a super luxury home in a unique and desirable location such as Vancouver and Toronto. Complainers: suck it up! If you are too light to play the real estate game in Vancouver then move somewhere you can. I hear Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, Cloverdale, Chilliwack Maple Ridge, Haney and Missions has much cheaper prices. People bashing has become a sport in Canada.


Is a Toronto foreign sales tax a good idea?