Port Moody real-estate team's "born here" advertisement plays on foreign-buyers fears

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      An advertisement for a team of Metro Vancouver real-estate agents is prompting second looks.

      “Born here. Raised here. Work here,” reads a message that’s printed in bold text and displayed alongside photographs of eight people who appear to be white and who are presumably owners or employees of the company.

      The ad belongs to Axford Real Estate and Property Management Group, which is based in Port Moody. It’s a division of Royal LePage, a real-estate franchiser with hundreds of offices across Canada.

      This morning (April 5), a copy of the ad was sent to various media outlets, including the Georgia Straight.

      The context for the ad is of course the debate in B.C. around what role foreign nationals have played in rising prices for real estate in many areas of the province.

      For years, newspapers’ coverage of Metro Vancouver’s real-estate market has been dominated by stories about money from mainland China pouring into cities here to an extent that prices have decoupled from local wages.

      Some reports have highlighted instances where B.C. real-estate companies have marketed Vancouver listings overseas.

      In Vancouver, it’s not uncommon to see real-estate ads with messages written in Chinese characters. But of course that doesn’t mean that those ads are marketing properties abroad. According to the 2016 census, of Metro Vancouver’s 2.46 million residents, more than 385,000 (about 16 percent) identified a Chinese language (mostly Cantonese and Mandarin) as their mother tongue.

      In July 2016, B.C.’s former Liberal government introduced a 15-percent tax on Metro Vancouver real-estate sales to foreign nationals. In February 2018, the new NDP government of John Horgan increased and expanded the tax. It now stands at 20 percent and applies to other regions of B.C., including the Fraser Valley, Capital Regional District, Nanaimo Regional District, and Central Okanagan.

      Since the tax was introduced in 2016, sales to foreign nationals have accounted for an average of about three percent of real-estate transactions in Metro Vancouver, according to the B.C. Ministry of Finance.

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