Agents angered by calls to tax flippers

by Jordan Maxwell27 May 2015
A prominent real estate expert who floated the idea of a speculation tax for those who sell properties within a short period has drawn the ire of a B.C. Realtor who said the move is "anti-business."

"We have enough speculation on the markets as is it and nothing is concrete," said Michael Mills, a Realtor with Sutton Group Seafair Realty.

"One minute it's a foreign tax, now it seems they want to do it domestically. The activity on both ends is driving the economy and we could end send the wrong message so I think it's an awful idea."

His comments follow words from Bob Rennie, founder of Rennie Marketing Solutions, during an Urban Development Institute luncheon last week.

The real estate mogul beat back the possibility of a foreign investment tax saying it would send the wrong message, but didn't rule out what's being called a speculation tax against domestic investors and first-time homebuyers.

The comments also follow a series of protests from a group called Vancouverites for Affordable Housing this past weekend.

More than 100 people rallied at the Vancouver Art Gallery recently to protest the high cost of housing. Protestors, and even the Mayor, Gregor Robertson, called out long-term cutbacks from the federal government as a reason for affordability challenges.

“If we start to put out a foreign investment tax, we’re going to send a wrong message,” said Rennie in an article from VanCityBuzz.com. “I’m worried about the optics. I think it hurts Vancouver, it hurts B.C. and it hurts Canada.”

Instead, he’s backing Robertson’s proposal to tax property flippers as opposed to risking what has been a profitable transaction for the local economy – foreign investment.

“If that condo has gone up and you decide to sell it right away, you sold it to make money and not home ownership,” he said. “You clenched it from the jaws of a young couple who wanted to live there.”

But Mills called such an assertion potentially destructive and re-iterated it’s an anti-business practice against free enterprise, and against Canadians who’ve worked hard.

Some believe that a tax is necessary and are calling the provincial government to step up – something it has been reluctant to do thus far.
 

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