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British Columbians in Favor of Banning Foreign Owned Property in Vancouver

British Columbians in Favor of Banning Foreign Owned Property in Vancouver

According to a new report, a huge majority of British Columbians would ban foreigners from owning property in Canada if they’re given a chance to.

More About the Research

The research conducted by Research Co. consisted of 800 adult residents of British Columbia.

About 78% of the people polled support a ban on foreigners buying property in BC. Only 15% were in favor of foreign-owned property, and about 7% had no opinion on the matter as they were still undecided.

“The notion of forbidding most foreigners from owning real estate in Canada is popular among all demographics in British Columbia,” said Research Co. president Mario Canseco.

Vancouver Island residents seem to be behind the idea very strongly. It’s said to be popular among people aged 35 to 54. The rate of ‘approval’ between these groups is 88%.

Note: The survey has a +/-3.5% margin of error.

But Why?

Property prices are very high in British Columbia and foreigners buying houses is said to be one of the major reasons behind the inflated prices.

Vancouver’s metro area is among the most expensive housing markets around the world.

Residents hope that less competition or demand will push prices down.

Not the Only Case

New Zealand took a similar step to make housing more affordable. The country put a ban on foreign-owned residential property in 2018. Citizens of Singapore and Australia, however, are exempt due to free-trade agreements between the countries.

Despite New Zealand being mentioned as an example, it isn’t the only country that has barred foreigners from owning real estate.

Many other countries have adopted similar rules due to a variety of reasons.

  • Foreigners cannot freely purchase newly-built properties in Australia.
  • Switzerland has quotas on how many houses foreigners can own in a state or county.
  • Nonresidents cannot own property in specially designated areas in Mexico. These include some very popular zones such as seaside areas.
  • Malaysia has a minimum purchase price system for foreigners to limit foreign-owned properties.

There are similar restrictions in many Arab countries. Moreover, some countries have restrictions on the kind of property foreigners can own.

Will This Change Anything?

Will the government take a drastic step and announce a ban on foreign-owned real estate in Canada? We’re not so sure yet.

The opinion seems to be divided. Real estate prices increased rapidly in Vancouver until 2016, when the government introduced a 15% foreign buyers’ tax.

The government pushed the tax to 20% in 2018 to combat rising prices. The current situation is strange. The market crashed in 2020 due to the on-going crisis, however, the prices have remained stable in most parts of the province.

Sales fell about 42.5% in May but the average resale price increased 3.2% compared to 2019 figures according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association.

British Columbians support the steps the government has taken to keep the market stable. These include the introduction of the ‘foreign buyers’ tax’ and the ‘vacant home tax’.