Taking bold action to address the housing crisis

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Premier John Horgan
Premier John Horgan
Premier John Horgan

Housing is the foundation of healthy families and strong communities. Unfortunately, the previous government’s poor choices and neglect led to our housing market spiral out of control, while people struggled to find a suitable place to rent or an affordable home to buy.

That’s why our first full budget took bold action to make housing more available and affordable for people, including closing loopholes and cracking down on tax cheats and housing speculators, investing in the homes people need and making our rental laws fairer for everyone.

Years of unchecked housing speculation has distorted our market, hurting people and hurting our economy. That’s why we’re bringing in a tax on speculation – it targets people who don’t pay income tax in B.C. and are not contributing to our province and our communities.

Similarly, we’re closing loopholes that people use to abuse our real estate market and cracking down on tax cheats who expect their neighbours to pick up the tab for the services we all enjoy. This should help stabilize our housing market and make it fairer for everyone.

We’re also asking people who have benefited the most from rising land values to pay a little more by increasing school taxes and the property transfer tax on homes worth more than $3 million dollars.

By raising the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent and expanding it to more communities we are also making it clear that people who live and work here are the priority for homes in B.C.

These measures to address excess demand in our real estate market are critically important, but they can’t solve the problem alone.

That’s why we are investing more than $7 billion over 10 years for the kind of homes and supports people need, in every corner of the province – urban, suburban, and rural.

This is the biggest investment in affordable housing in B.C. history and will help us work in partnership to create 114,000 new, affordable homes across the province.

We won’t be able to build those alone. We will be working with other governments, First Nations, faith groups, non-profits, post-secondary schools, for-profit developers and others to streamline the creation of new, affordable housing for people who need it the most – including students, seniors, and middle income families.

We’re starting by working with post-secondary schools to deliver more than 8000 on campus homes. This will free up rental housing in our communities, and help the bright young minds of tomorrow focus on their studies instead of struggling to find a place to live.

Supply takes time to build – and people need help today. That’s why we are making existing rental housing more secure, and strengthening our rental laws so they are fairer for everyone.

We already closed the loophole in our housing laws that some people were using to raise rent over the legal limits. And we strengthened penalties for bad tenants and bad landlords who repeatedly break the law, while making it easier for everyone to get disputes settled faster.

We’re also raising rental supplements for seniors and low-income families so they can afford to keep their homes as the cost of rent increases, and giving owners of manufactured homes increased compensation if they are displaced by redevelopment.

The housing crisis wasn’t created overnight. It will take time and sustained action to solve.

We are not waiting to get started. These are just some of the ways we are taking bold action to address the housing crisis. We will continue to bring forward the solutions families and communities need, as we work to fix a housing crisis caused by years of bad choices and neglect.