Starting August 2nd foreigners and foreign-controlled corporations will pay a 15% transfer tax on Metro Vancouver real-estate purchases, according to an announcement made by the provincial government.
For the time being the new legislation does not extend to greater Victoria and southern Vancouver Island, although the government has confirmed it may apply the tax to a secondary region at its discretion.
A provision also gives the province the powers to raise the tax to 20% or lower the tax to 10%, depending on outcomes.
Revenues will go towards a Housing Priority Initiatives Fund that will help pay for affordable housing programs.
The government has also announced British Columbia's real-estate industry's self-regulation will come to an end as part of sweeping changes aimed at reigning in misconduct by giving regulation and rule-making authority to a superintendent of real-estate.
“Government is assessing the best and fastest way to enhance transparency and consumer protection in the real estate-industry,” Finance Minister Michael de Jong said.
“We are working on legislation that will expand the powers of the superintendent of real-estate to address these issues, ensure appropriate public representation on the board, and implement higher disciplinary and administrative penalties.”
Additional measures will include:
- Reconstitute the Real Estate Council with a majority of public-interest, non-industry members.
- Implement the recommended penalties, as well as increased fines for unlicensed activity and other offences.
- Allow for commissions from licensees engaging in misconduct to be taken back to the council.
- Make the managing broker responsible for ensuring the owner of the brokerage does not engage in the business of the brokerage if the owner is not a licensee.
- No longer permit licensees to offer dual agency representation.
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