New Democrat Opposition Caucus proposes solutions to housing affordability crisis

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VICTORIA – While the B.C. Liberal government continues to neglect young families who can’t afford to buy a home, New Democrats have introduced two measures that would start to address the housing crisis head on.

“If you work hard, you should be able to afford a reasonable place to live and raise a family,” said B.C. New Democrat leader John Horgan. “At an Emergency Housing Town Hall meeting in Vancouver Wednesday, I heard from a packed room full of hundreds of people who feel like their government doesn’t care about the impact the housing crisis is having on their families and the communities they love.”

Horgan listened to the stories and concerns of people who are fed up with the government’s inaction on this important issue, and introduced the Housing Affordability Fund and Speculator Fee Act and the Property Transfer Tax Fairness Act.

The Housing Affordability Fund and Speculator Fee Act creates a way for government to collect desperately needed information about speculators who treat housing purely as an investment and leave properties empty, rather than as homes for families to live in. The bill collects a two percent tax on the assessed value of the property and the money collected would go directly into a Housing Affordability Fund. This fund would provide funding for affordability initiatives in the region where the tax was collected.

The Property Transfer Tax Fairness Act would put an immediate stop to shadow flippers and international property investors exploiting loopholes in the law to avoid paying the Property Transfer Tax. It’s not right that hard working British Columbians are paying the full tax, while the B.C. Liberal government turns a blind eye to those deliberately dodging it.

“These two bills do exactly what the B.C. Liberal government has refused to do – provide real solutions to the serious affordability problems facing British Columbians,” said David Eby, New Democrat spokesperson for housing.

“New Democrats understand the housing crisis is getting worse, we care about what is happening to people and their communities and these bills show we’re ready to act.”