B.C. Premier Christy Clark responded to mounting pressure from voters and Opposition New Democrats on the affordability of housing in the Lower Mainland by announcing this week that her government will bring in new rules to prevent the practice of real estate contract assignment – also known as shadow flipping.
Clark’s announcement comes after a week where the New Democrats tapped into anger and frustration over the high cost of housing by organizing a town hall on Vancouver’s West Side that attracted a crowd of 750 people. BC NDP housing critic David Eby accused the provincial government of ignoring the views of British Columbians who are concerned that home prices have become unaffordable for ordinary British Columbians.
“There’s all kind of solutions available to them to rein in some of the speculation that’s happening, to rein in some of the international capital that’s coming into our market,” Eby said.
The BC NDP followed up the town hall by introducing two pieces of legislation aimed at addressing the housing crisis. The Housing Affordability Fund and Speculator Fee Act would collect a two percent tax on the assessed value of vacant properties and the money collected would go directly into a Housing Affordability Fund. The Property Transfer Tax Fairness Act would stop shadow flipping and ensure international property investors pay the Property Transfer Tax.
The recent frustration in Vancouver over unaffordable housing comes on the heels of a series of reports that younger Canadians are avoiding Vancouver over the high cost of real estate, and a City of Vancouver report indicating that thousands of homes in Vancouver are sitting vacant.