British Columbia

Speculation tax generates $115 million to help fund housing affordability, province says

The B.C. government says its new homeowner Speculation and Vacancy Tax could deliver more than $100 million to help it address British Columbia's housing crisis.

Province says tax has been effective at capturing speculators with more than 12,000 owners subject to the tax

A number of skyscrapers in downtown Vancouver are pictured during sunset.
Residents in some of B.C.'s larger cities are subject to the B.C. speculation and vacancy tax. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The B.C. government says its new homeowner Speculation and Vacancy Tax could deliver more than $100 million to help it address British Columbia's housing crisis.

The province says SVT declarations show foreign owners, so-called satellite families and those with vacant homes, will contribute $115 million to provincial coffers.

Ministry of Finance data finds those groups represent approximately 80 per cent of owners subject to the SVT, and in general, homes that are captured by the tax are valued 46 per cent higher than exempt homes in the taxable areas. 

As of July 4, 12,029 owners are paying the tax. 

Majority are foreign owners

The province says foreign owners make up approximately 38 per cent, satellite families, 27 per cent, Canadians living outside B.C., 13 per cent. 

B.C. residents make up 20 per cent of taxable owners, and two per cent are either corporations or trusts with multiple entities that own properties in the taxable area.

Those areas include:

  • Municipalities within the Capital Regional District.
  • Municipalities within Metro Vancouver — excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lions Bay and Electoral Area A, but including the University of British Columbia and the University Endowment Lands.
  • The City of Abbotsford.
  • The City of Chilliwack.
  • The District of Mission.
  • The City of Kelowna.
  • The City of West Kelowna.
  • The City of Nanaimo.
  • The District of Lantzville
West Kelowna is among the B.C. cities that are subject to the speculation tax announced in the province's 2018 budget. (City of West Kelowna)

The province plans to meet with mayors from the municipalities where the tax applies. It will be the first meeting of its kind to share data and analysis from the tax. 

Minister of Finance Carole James said the tax is a key component to the province's 30-point plan to restore housing affordability in B.C.

The deadline to submit the Speculation and Vacancy Tax payment was July 2. Homeowners who live in a taxable area and have not yet completed a declaration will be contacted by the Ministry of Finance.


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