B.C. government considers extending foreign buyers tax beyond Metro Vancouver: premier

Click to play video: 'Housing advocates hope premier will increase lower-cost housing' Housing advocates hope premier will increase lower-cost housing
Attendees at an event with Premier John Horgan today were hoping he would come up with concrete steps to increase lower-cost housing in Metro Vancouver. Nadia Stewart reports – Nov 17, 2017

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said that the NDP government was considering implementing a province-wide foreign buyers’ tax. That is incorrect. It is looking at extending the foreign buyers’ tax beyond Metro Vancouver.

B.C.’s NDP government is holding off on making any announcements that might make owning a home a little easier in the province.

Premier John Horgan said supply and a comprehensive response are needed to ease the real estate market.

“The demand side is critically important, and when you see prices going up at a rate that’s far out of whack from the local economy, and the wage growth in the region, you have to ask yourself ‘why is that happening?’ And I think people have come to the appropriate conclusion that speculation is driving up prices,” he said.

READ MORE: New Vancouver mortgages took a ‘significant’ hit after foreign buyers tax, data show

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Horgan said his government is looking at expanding the foreign buyers’ tax beyond Metro Vancouver, as well as a provincial strategy to tackle affordability.

“We don’t want to solve a problem in one area and have it emerge in another. And that means, I think, a province-wide approach to this,” he said.

“But the issues in Prince Rupert and Prince George are not the issues in Penticton and Princeton. Similarly, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland have particular challenges, but we want to make sure we’re doing this in a comprehensive way.”

Horgan was speaking at an event hosted by Urban Development Institute (UDI), a non-profit that speaks for the development industry.

A few dozen protesters also rallied outside the event, asking the province to end its partnership with private real estate speculators and investors.

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