B.C. real-estate sales to foreign nationals still concentrated in Metro Vancouver despite extra tax

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      The provincial government has released a long-awaited update on real-estate data related to sales to foreign nationals. Last September, an even five percent of home sales in Metro Vancouver went to foreign buyers.

      That’s the highest percentage since a tax on Metro Vancouver sales to foreign nationals was introduced, in July 2016.

      The previous peak was 4.2 percent, set in January 2017.

      Monthly data is detailed in the chart below.

      The provincial government began tracking sales to foreign nationals on June 10, 2016.

      A 15-percent tax on sales to foreign nationals was announced on July 25, 2016 and then came into effect on August 2, 2016.

      That means the first reporting period in the graphs below, which covers June 10 to July 30, 2016, captures a short time when there was likely a rush of foreign nationals purchasing property in Metro Vancouver ahead of the tax’s introduction.

      Travis Lupick / B.C. Ministry of Finance

      As the Straight reported in August 2016, during the last two business days of July, B.C. recorded more than 15,000 property transactions. That’s a large number, but it’s difficult to say how much larger it is relative to more routine periods of sales. The data’s source, the B.C. Land Title and Survey Authority, could not provide the Straight with a regional breakdown specific to Metro Vancouver, where it’s known a majority of B.C. sales to foreign buyers were occurring.

      Across all of B.C. but excluding Metro Vancouver, sales to foreign nationals have remained fairly constant.

      They accounted for between two and four percent of total sales with the exception of one month since the province began recording data in June 2016.

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