British Columbia

B.C. NDP says new 'shadow flipping' rules treat a symptom, not the problem

The B.C. NDP says shadow flipping is the result of a major housing affordability crisis in the province, and the new regulations designed to thwart the practice will do nothing to address the underlying issue.

NDP leader John Horgan says the real issue is housing affordability in a red-hot market

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan says the Liberal government's new rules aren't enough to address B.C.'s underlying housing affordability problems. (CBC)

The B.C. NDP says shadow flipping is the result of a major housing affordability crisis in the province, and new regulations designed to thwart the practice will do nothing to address the underlying issue.

John Horgan, leader of the B.C. NDP, characterized the announcement as a largely political move that will target a specific practice without addressing the circumstances that cause it.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced Tuesday that as of May 16, realtors will be required to notify sellers of any assignment that takes place before a sale closes.

"Shadow flipping is a symptom of a market out of control," Horgan told Early Edition host Rick Cluff. "That's a narrow band, in my opinion, of rogue realtors who are taking advantage of a hot market."

'Shadow flipping' refers to the assignment of a real estate contract before completion of the sale, at a higher price, where the realtors involved are implicated in benefiting from the sale.

"The real issue is affordability for people in the region, and this initiative will do nothing to address that." 

Answering the foreign ownership question

In addition to the assignment rules, de Jong also announced yesterday that, starting in June, owners who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents must show where they do hold citizenship when registering property in B.C.

The move is intended to provide government with hard data on foreign ownership of B.C. real estate, which is often seen anecdotally as the main driver of house price increases, particularly in the Lower Mainland.

Horgan said this data collection is a move in the right direction, saying that Vancouver has become "a safety deposit box for offshore capital" in recent years.

But he said the government needs to be more forthcoming in what it plans to do with that information to resolve what he calls the biggest issue on the minds of British Columbians.

"People are looking at their city and saying, I can't live here anymore."

Finance Minister Mike de Jong was unavailable for further comment.

With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.

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