Absentee homeowner tax needed, according to most British Columbians

The majority of British Columbians are unhappy with how the provincial government is dealing with housing issues, saying...

The majority of British Columbians are unhappy with how the provincial government is dealing with housing issues, saying not enough is being done.

Eighty three per cent of B.C. residents and 82% of those in Metro Vancouver say a tax on absentee homeowners — those who buy homes in a city but don’t live in them — is a “good” or “very good” idea, according to the results of an Insights West poll released June 10.

Insights West's interactive chart:

Those aged 18-34 are the most likely, at 89%, to support this type of tax. For those over age 55%, support falls to around 75%, with the discrepancy possibly reflecting the difficulty of younger British Columbians to get into the real estate market.

Those who already own their own homes are less likely than renters to agree with the idea of a tax, with support of 79% and 85%, respectively. Household income does not appear to play much of a role in how those surveyed felt, with 81% of those making less than $50,000 and 84% of those making more than $100,000 responding that they thought the tax was a good idea.

In the Lower Mainland, much of the talk around housing affordability points to the issue of investors from China buying real estate and driving prices up. In the survey, ethnicity did not play much of a role in how respondents answered; 79% of those of European descent and 83% of those of South Asian descent supported a tax. Only 25% of respondents said the debate on foreign ownership is “inherently racist.”

ecrawford@biv.com

@EmmaHampelBIV

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