B.C. affordability crisis has citizens angry, survey suggests

As home prices climb well beyond the reach of the average family, a new survey suggests British Columbians are increasingly angry at politicians and overwhelmingly in support of taxing absentee homeowners.

New survey shows 80% of respondents support a tax on absentee foreign owners

Buying a home in Metro Vancouver is just a dream for many residents. (CBC)

As home prices climb well beyond the reach of the average citizen, a new survey suggests British Columbians are increasingly angry at politicians and overwhelmingly in support of taxing absentee homeowners.

An Insights West online survey reveals 80 per cent of respondents think levying a tax on people who acquire properties but don't live in them is a good or very good idea.

The idea has support across all age categories, with the 18-to-34 year old demographic registering the most support at 89 per cent in favour of a tax on absentee owners. The survey also showed that 83 per cent of British Columbians of East Asian descent support such a tax.

Respondents also expressed a high degree of anger at how all three levels of government are dealing — or not dealing — with the housing affordability crisis, with most of the blame directed at the provincial government.

"The level of animosity towards the provincial government is high," said Mario Canseso, vice president of Insights West. "The fact that this is shown across all age groups, both genders, all levels of household income and ethnic groups is significant."

Some other findings of the survey:

  • 87 per cent of respondents believe that people who own homes they don't live in are speculators, and not really part of the community. 
  • 79 per cent believe that when foreigners buy homes it boosts the market price of homes owned by Canadians.
  • 25 per cent believe the debate on foreign real estate ownership in B.C. is inherently racist.
  • 40 per cent believe real estate is the best long-term investment.

Eight hundred British Columbians were surveyed May 31 to June 3. A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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