British Columbia

Record B.C. real estate revenue to fund affordable housing projects

B.C. announced Monday that it will spend $500 million to provide affordable rental housing across the province, paid for by record profits from the real estate sector.

'This is one of the benefits of running one of the strongest economies in the country,' premier says

Record revenue from real estate taxes will fund a $500 million provincial investment in affordable housing projects, says Premier Christy Clark. (Christer Waara/CBC)

The B.C. government says it will spend $500 million to provide affordable rental housing that will be paid for by record revenues from the real estate sector.

The investment will provide nearly 3,000 rental units, and will be funded in part by proceeds from the 15 per cent foreign-buyers tax, which was imposed last month on non-residents who purchase residential property in the Vancouver area.

The new housing will also be funded by proceeds from B.C. property transfer taxes.

"This is one of the benefits of running one of the strongest economies in the country," Clark told reporters at a Burnaby seniors centre. "It's what the economists would call a virtuous circle."

Clark described the new rental units as the biggest investment in a single year by any province in the country.

Last week, Finance Minister Mike de Jong promised the government would soon announce an affordable housing plan, funded by money raised from real estate taxes.

Some of the rental housing announced Monday will be new projects. Others will come from existing buildings, which the province will purchase. The rental projects will be created in partnership with non-profit societies, local governments, government agencies, community organizations and the private sector, the province said.

All projects to be approved by March

"This is another significant step towards helping more people find an affordable place to live," Clark said.

The premier noted that Monday's announcement is in addition to a previous $355 million announcement for 2,000 affordable housing units.

The new units are aimed at providing housing for low-to-moderate income renters, seniors, young people, students, adults with developmental disabilities and Indigenous people.

Clark said all projects will be identified and approved by March 2017. The units are scheduled to be completed in 36 months.

Clark's announcement was made the same day that B.C. appointed a new superintendent of real estate, Micheal Noseworthy, to oversee the roll-out of new regulations for the industry.

Noseworthy is a former lawyer from Newfoundland and Labrador who has served in a number of positions for the Yukon government, including as superintendent of real estate.