Poll finds strong support for B.C. speculation tax but little confidence it will help affordability

. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)

A strong majority of British Columbians back the NDP government’s Speculation and Vacancy tax, even though less than half of them think it will make things more affordable.

That’s according to a new poll from B.C.-based polling firm Research Co., released Tuesday.

The poll found 68 per cent of respondents backed the tax, which targets the owners of second properties and foreign and domestic owners who pay little or no income tax in B.C.

READ MORE: More than 250,000 home owners have still not filled out Speculation Tax forms

That’s up six per cent from the 62 per cent of respondents who backed the tax in June, 2018.

The tax also enjoyed majority support from backers of all three major B.C. political parties. NDP supporters overwhelmingly supported the tax (82 per cent), Green voters expressed strong support (70 per cent) and more than half of BC Liberal voters (55 per cent) also agreed with it.

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An even stronger majority, 80 per cent, supported the government’s move to increase the foreign buyers’ tax from 15 to 20 per cent, and three quarters of respondents agree with the move to expand the tax outside of Metro Vancouver, the poll found.

READ MORE: ‘We aren’t speculators’: Belcarra property owners ask B.C. government for speculation tax exemption

The NDP government’s “school tax,” which has raised the ire of homeowners on Vancouver’s West Side and in West Vancouver, also continues to enjoy strong support, according to the poll.

The tax, which applies a levy of 0.2 per cent on the value of homes between $3 million and $4 million and a levy of 0.4 per cent on the value of a home above that, was supported by 66 per cent of respondents.

However, the poll also found cynicism on the part of British Columbians about how helpful the tax measures will actually be in bringing down housing prices.

READ MORE: B.C. tells homeowners how they can exempt themselves from the speculation tax

Just 39 per cent of respondents said the taxes would be “effective” in increasing housing affordability, while nearly half — 47 per cent — said they would be “ineffective.”

The poll was conducted online from March 8 to March 10, among 800 adult British Columbians. It is considered accurate within 3.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.

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