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.

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