90% of Vancouverites support foreign-buyers tax: poll

A weekly roundup of news and views on property development, sales, affordability and more

Vancouver residents like the new tax but doubt its effectiveness. Eighty-seven per cent of 737 Metro Vancouver residents polled by the Angus Reid Institute also support their local government asking for the power to tax vacant homes, and 82 per cent say the provincial government should have intervened sooner, including three-quarters who voted for the BC Liberals in 2013. Seventy-one per cent believe buyers will find loopholes to avoid the new tax. The new housing law also allows cabinet to change the foreign tax to between 10 and 20 per cent and to expand the tax outside Metro Vancouver. (Vancouver Sun)

The foreign-buyer tax turns a political liability into a revenue bonanza, writes Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason. “Whether the B.C. government’s new tax measure is enough to temper the rising tide of resentment in the province remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: Real estate has become as important to the province’s coffers as oil is to Alberta.” (The Globe and Mail

The revenue bonanza will help fund Metro Vancouver housing projects. The B.C. government says initiatives for renters, low-income earners and first-time buyers are set to roll out in the fall, months before the provincial election in which housing is expected to be a major issue. Meanwhile CMHC released a report Wednesday saying there is now strong evidence of problematic conditions in Vancouver’s real estate sector. (CTV

The U.S. government will expand tracking of home purchases by shell companies. More than a quarter of the all-cash luxury home purchases made using shell companies in Manhattan and Miami were flagged as suspicious in a new effort to unearth money laundering in real estate, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. As a result, officials said they would expand the program to other areas across the country. (The New York Times

Even Silicon Valley tech workers need help buying homes. Lenders are courting some buyers with zero-down loans, guaranteed 24-hour approval and financial-planning services. But is what’s good for the borrower and good for the lender good for San Francisco? (Bloomberg)