Poll shows 90 percent of Metro Vancouver residents support taxing foreign buyers of housing

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      The B.C. Liberal government's 15 percent tax on foreign buyers of Metro Vancouver real estate takes effect on Tuesday (August 2).

      In the meantime, a new poll shows there's tremendous public support for this policy.

      The Angus Reid Institute reported that 90 percent of Lower Mainland respondents are in favour, with only 10 percent opposed.

      The poll also found that 87 percent of respondents want local governments to have the power to tax vacant homes.

      The polling company surveyed 737 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

      A large majority, 82 percent, thought the B.C. government should have taken steps earlier to address these issues.

      Despite the extent of public support, 71 percent of poll respondents felt that people would find loopholes to avoid paying these levies.

      Under the law, buyers of presale condos won't have to pay the tax if they sell the assignment to purchase before the deal closes.

      NDP housing critic David Eby highlights how foreign buyers can avoid paying the new tax by selling their assignments to purchase before the closing date.

      The poll also revealed that 65 percent felt that foreign investing in real estate was one of the main causes of high housing prices in Vancouver. Next on the list was wealthy people investing in local real estate, at 41 percent, followed by condos and houses being left empty by investor-owners at 37 percent. Lack of government action came fourth at 33 percent.

      Recent B.C. government statistics indicate that only 10 percent of homes were sold to foreign buyers.

      Low interest rates was mentioned by 18 percent. The lack of supply of housing units was only cited by 13 percent, and just 11 percent felt that a lack of available land for new construction was a main cause of high housing prices in Vancouver.

      Thirty-one percent cited people wanting to live in Vancouver because it's a desirable location as one of the main causes driving up the cost of housing.

      Another question asked if respondents felt that the foreign-buyers tax and letting municipalities tax empty homes would help them personally. Among owners, 56 percent said the foreign-buyers tax was good news for them, compared to 39 percent of renters.

      When it came to a vacancy tax, 62 percent of owners called this good news for them, compared to 36 percent of renters.