BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC Housing To Look At What Foreign Buyers Are Doing To Real Estate

02/01/2016 08:40 EST | Updated 02/01/2016 08:59 EST
Darryl Dyck/CP

VANCOUVER — Premier Christy Clark says the agency that manages and administers subsidized housing in British Columbia is studying the level of foreign investment in the real-estate market.

Housing affordability is a hot topic in Vancouver, where the rental-vacancy rate is below one per cent and the average price of a home on the west side is now more than $2.5 million.

But just how much of a role foreign investment plays in the market remains debatable, although a Finance Ministry analysis last June concluded less than five per cent of home sales in Metro Vancouver involved foreign buyers.

Clark says BC Housing has been studying the issue for more than a year but will need the help of the federal government to fully understand the data.

She says the provincial government will also include initiatives in this month's budget to help it determine if non-citizen buyers have an impact on the property market.

Clark says the government needs to understand the issue before it can find solutions, and she is also asking people not to vilify non-residents who buy homes in the Vancouver area.

"I think with more data, we'll be able to get a grasp on how to address it better because affordability, especially in the city of Vancouver, less so in the suburbs but certainly there as well, is a real issue and we have to find ways to address it,'' she said Monday.

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