Mayor Gregor Robertson says province's moves on housing not enough to bring affordability to Vancouver

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      Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson was unimpressed by measures the provincial government announced today (February 16) aimed at addressing people’s concerns about foreign buyers’ impacts on B.C. real-estate prices.

      “While initial steps to collect more data on the real estate market are useful, there’s little to address real estate speculation or reduce vacant homes,” Robertson said quoted in a media release. “That's a real missed opportunity to create a more level playing field in the housing market.”

      Earlier in the day, B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong proclaimed the province would begin collecting data related to the foreign ownership of B.C. real estate. The Liberal government also unveiled plans to raise the ceiling for a property-tax exemption for first-time home buyers to apply to properties worth up to $750,000, and slightly raise taxes on sales of properties valued at more than $2 million.

      Robertson described the measures as inadequate.

      “A new luxury sales tax category is good, but any revenue generated should be going towards helping low to modest income households,” he said. “In Metro Vancouver, there are close to 10,000 households on the waiting list for social housing. In the focus on first-time buyers, we can't forget that.

      “Vancouver has 20 sites of city land worth $250 million that we are ready to partner with the provincial and federal government on to build more than 3500 new units of affordable homes. We also have more than half of all new rental housing in the region being built in Vancouver. We are doing our part to address the affordability crunch.

      “It’s disappointing to once again see nothing for new transit, not just for Vancouver but for the region overall,” Robertson’s statement concludes. “Trying to address affordability while ignoring transit is simply counterproductive.”

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