British Columbians Question the Effectiveness of Housing Taxes

The provincial government’s measures remain popular, but fewer residents think they will actually make housing more affordable.  

Vancouver, BC [June 8, 2021] – While sizeable proportions of British Columbians remain supportive of specific housing policies implemented by the current provincial government, residents are evenly split on whether they will lead to properties becoming more reasonably priced, a new Research Co. poll has found.  

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 42% of British Columbians think the actions of the provincial government will be effective in making housing more affordable in British Columbia, down 15 points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in June 2020.  

More than two-in-five British Columbians (43%, +12) believe the government’s housing actions will be ineffective, while 16% (+4) are undecided.   Seven-in-ten British Columbians (70%, -7) agree with the government’s decision to implement a “speculation tax” in specific urban areas targeting foreign and domestic homeowners who pay little or no income tax in the province, and those who own second properties that are not long-term rentals.  

Public support for the “speculation tax” reaches 77% among British Columbians who voted for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) in the 2020 provincial election, 73% among those who supported the BC Green Party and 67% among those who cast ballots for the BC Liberals.  

Three-in-four of the province’s residents endorse the decision to increase the foreign buyers tax from 15% to 20% (75%, -4) and to expand the foreign buyers tax to areas located outside of Metro Vancouver (also 75%, -4).  

More than two thirds of British Columbians agree with the introduction of a tax of 0.2% on the value of homes between $3 million and $4 million, and a tax rate of 0.4% on the portion of a home’s value that exceeds $4 million (69%, -7) and with the decision to increase the property transfer tax from 3% to 5% for homes valued at more than $3 million. The 5% portion only applies to the value greater than $3 million (67%, -5).  

New Zealand passed legislation that effectively banned most foreigners from purchasing real estate in the country. There are exceptions for foreigners who hold residency status in New Zealand, as well as citizens from Australia and Singapore, due to existing free trade agreements.  

More than seven-in-ten British Columbians (72%, -6) would like to see similar legislation implemented in Canada in order to ban most foreigners from purchasing real estate in the country.  

Support for this type of legislation is highest among women (75%), British Columbians aged 35-to-54 (74%), residents of Northern BC (90%) and BC NDP voters (78%).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted on June 1 and June 2, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]