To address the issue of housing affordability for British Columbians, the Province is curbing speculation in B.C.’s housing market and helping to build 114,000 affordable market rental, non-profit, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.
The Government of British Columbia is making the biggest investment in housing affordability in B.C. history – more than $7 billion over 10 years – and has released a 30-point housing plan: http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
As well, the Province is strengthening supports for renters through changes to legislation and by improving rental assistance benefits for low-income seniors and working families.
Stabilizing the market
- The Province is introducing a number of measures to stabilize B.C.’s real estate market, including:
- Introducing a new speculation tax on residential property. This tax will target foreign and domestic speculators who own residential property in B.C., but do not pay taxes here. The tax will apply to Metro Vancouver, the Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca), Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo-Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018FIN0009-000501
- Increasing the foreign buyers’ tax to 20%, and expanding it to the Capital Regional District, the Fraser Valley, the Central Okanagan and the Nanaimo Regional District.
- Increasing the property transfer tax and the school tax on people who buy or own homes valued higher than $3 million.
- Allowing online accommodation providers to apply PST and municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) on short-term rentals: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018FIN0003-000174
- The revenues from these taxes will help address housing affordability throughout B.C.
- The Province has introduced amendments to the Real Estate Development Marketing Act to require developers to collect and report comprehensive information on the assignment of strata lot contracts, in order to crack down on tax evasion: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018FIN0019-000724
Increasing housing supply
- The Province is investing in new housing options for British Columbians:
- Close to $1.9 billion over 10 years to support the construction of more than 14,000 new affordable rental homes for low- to moderate-income British Columbians: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0019-000664
- $1.2 billion over 10 years to build and support 2,500 new supportive housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
- $734 million over 10 years to support the construction of 1,500 spaces in transition and second-stage housing for women and children fleeing violence: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001019
- $550 million over 10 years to support the construction of 1,750 new units of social housing for Indigenous peoples.
- A new $450-million student housing program that will now allow public post-secondary institutions to borrow directly from the Province in order to help finance an estimated 5,000 new on-campus student housing beds, which previously had not been permitted. An additional 3,000 beds will be built through grants, institutional self-financing and other partnerships.
- These investments build on the measures announced in the September 2017 Budget Update:
- $208 million over four years to support the construction of 1,700 new affordable rental homes in communities around the province: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017FIN0024-001557
- $291 million to support the construction of 2,000 modular-home units for people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness and more than $170 million over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services. This program is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs throughout the province: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0023-000852
- The Province has proposed legislative changes to empower local governments to zone specifically for rental housing in their communities, supporting increases in rental supply: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018FIN0019-000724
Supporting renters and landlords
- To help renters, the Province is providing $116 million over three years to expand eligibility and increase the average benefits under the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) and Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER).
- More than 35,000 households will benefit from the enhancements, including 3,200 newly eligible seniors and families.
- The average payment for RAP recipients will go up by approximately $800 per year.
- The average payment for SAFER recipients will go up by approximately $930 per year.
- These enhancements will begin Sept. 1, 2018.
- For information about RAP and SAFER, go to: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance-financial-aid-for-home-modifications
- The B.C. government has strengthened protection for renters by:
- Closing the fixed-term lease loophole: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017mah0010-001815
- Eliminating the geographic rent increase clause: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017MAH0021-002036
- Changing the laws that apply in cases of renovations or demolitions: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018MAH0033-000618
- Strengthening laws around manufactured home parks: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018MAH0066-001111
- The B.C. government launched a new rental task force that will advise on how to improve security and fairness for renters and landlords throughout the province: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0015-000608
- The Province is providing $6.8 million in new funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch to reduce wait times for tenancy disputes and to establish a new compliance unit to take action against landlords and tenants who are repeat or serious offenders: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017FIN0024-001557
- The Province is also investing $1.1 billion over 10 years to upgrade and improve existing rental housing throughout B.C. This investment will fund seismic and fire-safety upgrades and essential repairs and maintenance, making homes safer and more comfortable for residents.
Building partnerships – HousingHub
- The Province launched the new HousingHub. It will take an active role in finding partners to build new affordable market-rental housing and owner-purchased housing: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0017-000629
- The hub’s focus will be on developing homes for people with average incomes between $50,000 and $100,000.
- As a centre for housing expertise and collaboration, affordable housing will be developed through the HousingHub, either through new construction or through the redevelopment of existing sites.
- More information about the HousingHub can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/housinghub
Lindsay ByersMedia Relations
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing