British Columbians Optimistic About New Housing Regulations

Almost half of the province’s residents think the actions will be effective in making housing more affordable.

Vancouver, BC [January 27, 2022] – Practically half of British Columbians think the housing measures recently announced by the provincial government will help residents, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 48% of British Columbians believe the actions will be effective in making housing more affordable, up seven points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in June 2021.

Just over two-in-five British Columbians (41%, -2) believe the actions of the provincial government will be ineffective, while 11% (-5) are undecided.

More than seven-in-ten British Columbians agree with three policies related to housing recently outlined by the provincial government: building more modular supportive homes in areas where people are experiencing homelessness (78%), implementing a three-business-day protection period for financing and home inspections (71%) and capping rent increases in 2023 at 2% (also 71%).

Majorities of British Columbians are also in favour of two other recent measures: ending most strata age restrictions (64%) and removing strata rental restrictions (59%).

Support remains high for the policies implemented by the provincial government before 2022, such as increasing the foreign buyers tax from 15% to 20% (77%, +2), expanding the foreign buyers tax to areas located outside of Metro Vancouver (75%, =) and introducing a “speculation tax” in specific urban areas targeting foreign and domestic homeowners who pay little or no income tax in BC, and those who own second properties that aren’t long-term rentals (72%, +2).

Most British Columbians also continue to 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 (68%, -1) 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 (65%, -2).

Just over seven-in-ten British Columbians (71%) support the federal government’s decision to ban non-Canadians (with exclusions for international students and temporary residents) from purchasing residential properties in Canada for the next two years.

More than three-in-five British Columbians (61%) think the federal government should tie immigration numbers to affordable housing targets and new housing starts.

“There is no political divide in British Columbia on the idea that housing and immigration should go hand-in-hand,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Sizeable majorities of residents who voted for the BC Liberals (63%), the BC Green Party (62%) and the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) (59%) in the 2020 provincial election want the federal government to do its part.”

A majority of British Columbians (57%) call on the provincial government to implement a $400 renters’ rebate for households earning up to $80,000 a year. This proposed measure is particularly popular among those who currently rent (72%).

Only 30% of British Columbians would consent to the cancellation of the home owner grant, which reduces the amount of property tax people pay for their principal residence. Among respondents who own their primary residence, support for this policy stands at 23%.

Three-in-five British Columbians (60%) agree that municipal governments should immediately dismantle any encampment or “tent city” located within their municipality—a proportion that rises to 66% among those aged 55 and over.

Almost half of British Columbians (49%, -6 since a Research Co. survey conducted in December 2021) trust the provincial government under the BC NDP to deliver affordable housing in British Columbia. The rating is lower for prospective provincial administrations headed by the BC Greens (39%, +6) or the BC Liberals (33%, -3).

At the federal level, confidence on affordable housing is highest for a potential federal government headed by the NDP (40%, -11) than administrations assembled by the Liberal Party (37%, -2) or the Conservative Party (31%, -1).

Trust in municipal governments to deliver affordable housing stands at 46% in British Columbia this month (-1). Confidence remains higher for not-for-profit developers (49%, =) than for for-profit developers (21%, +2).

Methodology:Results are based on an online study conducted on January 9 to January 11, 2023, 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]