With what amounts to lightning speed, by government standards, British Columbia has slapped a 15% land transfer tax on foreigners who buy residential real estate in Metro Vancouver. The government says revenue generated will be used to fund housing, rental and support programs.
The charge is being promoted as a weapon in the battle to cool the area’s red-hot housing market. But even supporters of an “anti-speculation tax” say a 15% levy on real estate that has increased in value by more than 30% in the last year is unlikely to be a deterrent.
The tax has strong public support. It is unsettling to think BCers may have fallen victim to the nativist rhetoric of Donald Trump, or Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage (of Brexit infamy), or others who have scored disturbing political points by blaming the “others” for domestic problems.
If you have not heard it yet, you will hear it soon: the 15% levy will be called a de facto, “head tax”. Given that the vast majority of those affected are from mainland China it will be compared to the punitive fees charged to Chinese immigrants between 1885 and 1923. Premier Clark issued a formal apology for the head tax and other racist policies in May 2014.
Thanks to Matt Robinson for the article