British Columbia Premier Christy Clark speaks about the province's climate action plan at the still under construction Carbon Capture and Conversion Institute, in Richmond, B.C., on Aug. 19. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
"It's actually quite a delicate thing they have to do and there aren't too many directions that a government with their commitments can go to provide really aggressive solutions." The government's goal is to give Canadians "access to workable real estate purchases," said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson on behalf of Finance Minister Mike de Jong, who was unavailable to comment. "It's hard to find anyone who would say the market wasn't overheated in the Lower Mainland in the first half of 2016," Wilkinson said. He added that it would be premature to comment on the policy's long-term impact or whether the government might consider eventually tweaking the tax.
"It's hard to find anyone who would say the market wasn't overheated in the Lower Mainland in the first half of 2016."
B.C. Liberals' pre-election conundrumHamish Telford, a political scientist at the University of the Fraser Valley, said the Liberals' brand as the party of laissez-faire made it difficult for them to intervene in the marketplace. The conundrum the Liberals face now is that the tax will either be too effective or not effective enough, he said. "The risk here is that they cool off the housing market too much and they get trapped in a situation where, on the one hand, Liberal voters are losing equity, but (on the other hand) housing doesn't become affordable enough for those who already can't get into the market," said Telford. "One hopes that the 15-per-cent tax was calculated carefully enough that it would cool but not crash the market." The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released data Friday showing that home sales tumbled by 26 per cent in August compared to the same period last year. Despite the drop in sales, the board reported the composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver had jumped more than 30 per cent since August 2015, to about $933,000.
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