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Real estate expert says NDP have limited tools to reduce housing prices

File photo.
File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

An Ontario real estate professor says there aren’t many tools left in the toolbox for politicians looking to control B.C.’s surging real estate prices.

The B.C. NDP government says it will reveal a “comprehensive housing strategy” in the February budget.

READ MORE: Details still scarce on BC NDP’s housing affordability plan

But short of taking radical — and likely politically impossible — action, they may struggle to substantively increase affordability, according to Jane Londerville with the University of Guelph.

“We have a free market, driven by how much gets built verses how much people want to move there and buy stuff,” she said.

“To have an actual impact on prices, they would have to put in some form of price control, which I doubt they would be willing to do.”

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WATCH: Coverage of B.C. real estate on Globalnews.ca

Londerville said other tools are available at the federal level, such as tightening mortgage rules and playing with interest rates.

And she said municipal leaders can try and increase supply through creative, though often unpopular, zoning changes.

“They have done the laneway houses and that’s great, it provides some rental stock, but it’s kind of a drop in the bucket, it’s not creating a lot of supply that’s close to the core.”

READ MORE: Another prediction of a strong housing market in Metro Vancouver

Premier John Horgan said earlier this week the province will implement tax changes “that will affect demand” in its February budget.

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The party promised a two per cent tax on speculators in its election platform.

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