Expatriate professionals to take a hit from new foreign buyer's tax

by Ephraim Vecina08 Aug 2016
The B.C. government’s new 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers has bred uncertainty not only among would-be buyers from overseas, but even among expatriate professionals who are set to work in Vancouver’s up-and-coming tech sector.
“It's a complete shock, a nightmare,” according to Singaporean computer scientist Eric Kong, who is currently moving his family to Vancouver.
“If I'd known this, we would've gone somewhere else,” Kong told The Business Times. He is now desperately looking for a way to come up with an extra C$114,000 to ensure the purchase of the C$775,000 home that his family was supposed to be moving into.
And there is no way he can back out, as aborting the deal would forfeit his C$80,000 deposit as well as his two daughters’ tuition (which has already been paid for). Returning to Singapore isn’t an attractive option, either, as he and his family have already sold their vehicle and ended their lease.
The new tax was implemented by B.C. authorities as an attempt to curb the skyrocketing demand in Canada’s hottest housing market.
“This additional tax on foreign purchases will help manage foreign demand while new homes are built to meet local needs,” Finance Minister Michael de Jong stated.
However, Vancouver-based professionals said that the levy would only scare off skilled workers that can contribute significantly to the city’s economy and its attempts to reshape itself into a haven for tech firms.
“I know of many people who couldn't afford to move to Vancouver because of the cost of housing,” Buddybuild founder and former Microsoft Corp. worker Dennis Pilarinos said.

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