Foreign Buying Plummets in Vancouver After New Property Tax

The number of Metro Vancouver homes sold to foreign buyers has plunged.- Black Press file

Of the total number of transactions, the proportion of foreign purchasers who closed their deals to buy homes in the Vancouver region was 0.9 per cent between August 2 and August 31, down from 13.2 per cent in the seven weeks leading up to the implementation of the tax, according to data based on land-title registrations the province released on Thursday.

New real estate numbers released by the B.C. government this morning are suggesting the newly imposed foreign buyer tax may be helping to cool down the real estate market in Metro Vancouver.

The statement says more than $850 million worth of property transactions involving foreign nationals were registered at the land titles office on July 29.

After the tax was implemented, between August 2 and August 31, there were a mere 60 transactions in Metro Vancouver that involved foreign nationals.

The figures indicate 1,974 property deals in Metro Vancouver involving foreign buyers from June 10 to August 1, but that number dipped to just 60 property transactions involving foreign buyers from August 2 to Aug 31. The BC government has now provided the first data on foreign investment in residential real estate since the tax was introduced, and it confirms what many experts anticipated - foreign buyer activity in Metro Vancouver has seen a huge drop since the beginning of August.

"It's fair to say we may have had an impact", said Clark at a news conference in Kelowna.

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The total value of those deals were $46.9 million, which amounts to $2.5 million in additional property transfer tax revenue.

From June to the end of August, purchases by foreign buyers totalled 9.3 per cent in Vancouver, down from 13.2 per cent between June and the beginning of August.

"This will help government assess the impact of the additional property transfer tax on Metro Vancouver's real estate market, as well as other parts of the province". He believes that foreign buyers will continue to buy into the Canadian market by using friends and relatives who are either Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

And the details back up the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver's belief that transactions are down in the Lower Mainland.

Auditors with British Columbia's finance department are reviewing these purchases to determine if any were created to avoid the tax, the government said.

Matt Lee reports, the province still faces a number of problems on foreign buyers. "If a tax were levied on foreign investors, it is possible that we could see fewer rental apartments available on the market", which could reduce vacancy rates and push up rents, they wrote.

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