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Foreign buyers are gaming the system

by January 20, 2018 General

Re: “B.C. premier rejects Greens’ call to ban foreign homebuyers,” Jan. 17.

Premier John Horgan’s reason for rejecting a ban on foreign buying of real estate (days before his Asia visit) misses a key point.

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He says we have an “open economy,” so banning foreign buyers sends the wrong signals to investors and he does “not believe we should be curbing people from coming here.”

It is the money coming here, not the foreign buyers. They stay outside the country, and on tight inventory, through a low volume of rich sales steadily maintained through time, keep prices rising and manipulate the market. They treat residential real estate as a commodity, game the system and weak governments, and will pull out when it suits them.

A ban on foreign ownership, as has been done in China, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Australia and Denmark, is needed. There, informed citizens have demanded action from their governments, to protect their society and economy.

I can’t imagine a B.C. premier going to Asia to say investors should buy our real estate out from under us, as the B.C. Liberals allowed when they turned a blind eye to the problem, collected no data and took in a fortune in property-transfer tax, while the ratio of median housing value to median total household income rose to 11 times in Vancouver and 8.3 times in Victoria.

No matter what per cent of sales it represents, foreign real-estate speculation does not belong. This has nothing to do with welcoming foreign investment for non-residential real-estate economic projects.

Ron Kot