BC Budget 2018
"It will continue to be challenging to address the affordability issue from a supply perspective." - Grant L Gardner, Senior Broker - London Pacific

Finance Minister Carole James introduced the BC Budget on February 20th which included a “30 Point Plan For Housing” intended to address affordability.


Summary of Highlights


  • The introduction of a “Speculation” tax designed to target foreign and domestic investors who do not pay taxes in BC but have invested in residential property in the following areas specifically: Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley Capital and Nanaimo Regional Districts and in the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.  Exemptions will be made for principal residences and / or for properties that qualify as long term-rentals. “The tax rate will be 0.5 percent in 2018 and then 2 percent in 2019 and thereafter, charged on a property’s assessed value.” – The Globe and Mail
  • The existing Foreign Buyers Tax will increase from 15% to 20% and the tax will expand to other areas including: the Capital and Nanaimo Regional Districts, the Fraser Valley and the Central Okanagan.
  • Property Transfer Tax rate will increase if the property is residential – a further 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $3,000,000 (effective February 21, 2018)
  • School Tax Rate will increase on homes assessed over $3,000,000 annually.
  • Over the next 10 years the government (in partnership) has planned to deliver 114,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years via an “historic” investment of $6.6 billion dollars.


On February 22nd the Urban Development Institute held a morning seminar with the purpose of dissecting the Budget to understand its effects on the economy, real estate industry and its impact on housing strategy.


The general sentiment from the featured panel is that no real change in affordability will stem from this Budget. “The four new tax measures address the demand side and are mainly about garnering additional revenue; they will not do much to improve affordability for the median home-buyer or household.” – Jock Finlayson.


Moreover, there is little to address the “supply” side of the issue with no “real focus on accelerating new residential development at the municipal level, where delays, escalating costs, and bureaucratic over-reach are often major issues.”


London Pacific’s Grant Gardner stated that, “As long as building permit issuance lags significantly behind GVRD population growth projections, it will continue to be challenging to address the affordability issue from a supply perspective.”



The full 30 Point Plan can be found HERE