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B.C. Ministry Looks at Foreign Investments in Housing Market

Posted by Marites Alma Christiansen on Feb 04, 2016 01:41 PM EST
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VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 03: A scenic view of the city of Vancouver photographed from West Vancouver on June 3, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo : Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Housing Ministry Premier Christy Clark said that the government agency has been studying the depth of foreign investments in the property market, in a CBC Canada report.

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The agency not only catered to managing and administering subsidized housing in the region, but also acknowledged housing affordability as a hot topic. In Vancouver, the rental-vacancy rate has fallen to one percent, with average prices of homes no higher than $2.5 million on the west side.

A Finance Ministry analysis done June last 2015 had concluded that less than 5 percent of house sales in the Metro Vancouver area had involved overseas buyers. Premier Clark also stated that B.C. Housing had been following the issue involving foreign buyers on real estate for the past year; however she has qualms over its interpretation and would need federal government assistance with it.

"I think with more data, we'll be able to get a grasp on how to address it better because affordability, especially in the city of Vancouver, less so in the suburbs but certainly there as well, is a real issue and we have to find ways to address it," said Clark.

She also said that the provincial government would be including reforms in February's budget to help interpret data on non-Canadian buyers towards the real estate sector.

Rajvir Rao, also of B.C. Housing, said that an independent group has been tasked to examine the level of housing affordability in the Canadian province, in a separate Global News Canada report.

The Industry and Consumer Advisory Council was tapped by the agency to oversee the said research.

Rao said, "The province has asked B.C. Housing to examine key factors affecting home prices in B.C. to better understand housing affordability across the province and help inform future policy responses. Foreign ownership is one of the variables potentially affecting prices, along with housing and land supply, the economy and interest rates."

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