BC municipalities want changes to the speculation tax

by Steve Randall22 Aug 2018

An annual conference of municipalities in British Columbia has called for changes to the province’s real estate speculation tax.

Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates are asking the provincial government for more control over how the tax is applied which could make its implementation optional for local officials or enable them to introduce their own versions of the tax.

The tax is due to take effect from 2019 with homeowners in six BC districts or municipalities taxed between 0.5% and 2% of the property’s assessed value if they are not its permanent residents or it is not rented out long-term.

“We recognize the government’s goals in the speculation tax, making sure that there is housing availability by reducing the number of empty or vacant homes, and also the need to deal with the affordability issue,” Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen told the Vancouver Sun. “We felt that should be done by allowing local governments who know their own communities to determine how best to achieve these goals.”

Lack of consultation
Along with Oak Bay, resolutions by Langford, CRD, Nanaimo, and Lower Mainland Local Govt Association are asking for opting out, postponement or changes to the Speculation Tax.

Victoria Residential Builders’ Association says this reveals “the province’s lack of consultation and poor policy development.”

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