No help for B.C. property buyers: Victoria
Residential property sales rose 5.6% around the province in June, over the same period a year earlier, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association. The average Multiple Listing Service residential price was $533,219. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
Jacqueline Laprise grew up in North Burnaby and now lives a few doors down from the house in which she was raised.
Her sister and mother live nearby and the family supports each other helping to take care of her two boys.
“We’re all together, my family is very close,” said Laprise. “We all love our family and it’s important for us to be close to them.”
Despite a combined income of $120,000 Laprise and her husband have stuck to renting because they would need at least a four-bedroom home for the family. In Vancouver, even on the couple’s income, that would mean a tight budget.
“We thought about quality of life,” she said. “Sure, we’d own a house, but we wouldn’t be able to do anything else.”
Foreign ownership is often said to be what keeps Vancouver real estate humming along. Despite government spokespersons pointing out there’s no proof of that, some say Victoria isn’t doing enough to protect the interests of locals when it comes to housing prices.
Other nations, Australia most notably, have implemented strict laws on foreign ownership. Some of the rules include restricting non-permanent residents or citizens from purchasing previously-owned homes and clearing property purchases to non-residents through a government panel.
Burnaby-based real estate agent Tina Mak said most of her clients, who come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and nationalities, have status in Canada as permanent residents or citizens.
She believed any restrictions on foreign buyers would have to be carefully considered.
“That would depend on how the government looks at it from an economic point of view,” Mak said. “How do they want to drive this economy in Canada as a whole?”
The B.C. government said there are no plans to put restrictions on foreign buyers.
“British Columbia does not have any policies in place that limit foreign ownership of residential properties,” a Ministry of Finance spokesman wrote.
“We have not identified any conclusive evidence that foreign ownership of residential property is itself measurably affecting the B.C. real estate market in a way that requires government intervention in a private market.”