NDP bills aimed at calming hot real estate market

The provincial Opposition New Democrats have introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at alleviating Vancouver's affordable housing crisis.

'They don't want their neighbourhoods to be safety deposit boxes for the rich,' says NDP Leader John Horgan

The provincial Opposition New Democrats have introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at alleviating Vancouver's affordable housing crisis. (Julie Gordon/Reuters)

The provincial Opposition New Democrats have introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at alleviating Vancouver's affordable housing crisis.

One of the bills calls for a two per cent tax on people who treat homes solely as investments.

The other bill would close a loophole allowing homeowners to avoid paying property transfer tax.

 NDP leader John Horgan said B.C. residents are frustrated, and concerned that their neigbourhoods are growing unaffordable.

"They don't want their neighbourhoods to be safety deposit boxes for the rich," Horgan said. "They want their neighbourhoods to be places where families can be, families can thrive.

The NDP has tabled the legislation, but the government is concerned changes could hurt people who are counting on home values going up.

 "People's houses, in many cases, have become the investment that helps them retire," said Housing Minister Rich Coleman. "So you can't drive value out of their house if it's a family that wants to invest in children or grandchildren."

 The Liberals have promised to track foreign ownership in the province as part of a strategy to make Metro Vancouver more affordable.

With files from Richard Zussman

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