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Residential Market Commentary - week of September 5, 2016

Sep 7, 2016, 09:30 AM by Maria Broekhof
British Columbia’s effort to cool the effect of foreign money on the hot Vancouver housing market may be getting some help from Quebec.  That province’s government is reported to be tightening the conditions of its Immigrant Investor Program.

Quebec wants to stop immigrants from using the program to gain access, only to move elsewhere.  B.C. and Ontario are favourite locations.  The stricter criteria mean immigrants who have property in another province, or who have children attending school in another province are being denied entry.

As for B.C.’s efforts, the 15% tax on foreign buyers – implemented August 2nd – does appear to be having an effect.

Numbers from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show sales, which were already slowing, plunged nearly 23% compared to July and 26% compared to a year ago.  

Prices in the region covered by the tax dipped about 8% y/y in August.  But that is seen as a result of changes in the composition of sales.  In the area covered by the REBGV, prices were up more than 31% y/y, but just 0.3% from July.