The first time I heard the line "you're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic" I immediately liked it. People tend to ignore their participation and impact on a situation and often believe things are happening to them, not because of them. I wanted to explore this concept as it applies to the Canadian real estate, specifically the Vancouver and Toronto metro area housing markets.
Tax evaders are using homes to bring money from high-tax jurisdictions into Canada. Since they can't just move fat wads of cash without attracting scrutiny, they've come up with several techniques. Using soft assets that don't have fixed trade values (like homes) is one of the easiest ways to do it.
The fact Firecracker and Wanderer have eschewed real estate in favour of an early idleness, and are actually of Asian (!) heritage, has turned a lot of newsroom cranks. After saving madly, living on air and investing their 500 grand (with me), these guys ended up claiming to be the nation's youngest retired millionaires. My callers? Not so much. The liquid assets among 35-year-olds who have been working for seven or eight years is breathtaking. There aren't any. Instead, all the cash has gone into lifestyle, a soul-sucking condo or repaying student debt. The kids basically have no idea what an RRSP is, or an ETF, and equate a TFSA with a high-interest savings account at the bank.
The government of B.C.'s decision to impose a 15 per cent hike in Land Transfer Taxes for foreigners who buy real estate in metro Vancouver will do almost nothing to lower high housing prices. It will, however, generate even more money for a government that has already profited enormously from foreign nationals.