Province stingy with new data on foreign home buyers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – After a speedy start, it seems it’s taking much longer for the province to release new data on homes being bought by foreign nationals than it has in the past.

New numbers haven’t been released since mid-July, even though the finance minister had agreed to produce the data monthly.

The first release covered the first three weeks of data collected in June by the BC government. About five per cent of the homes sold went to foreign buyers during that time period.

The most recent release came out near the end of July and covered sales between June 10th and July 14th. Those numbers show about 10 per cent of properties sold in Metro Vancouver during that time went to foreign nationals.

There have been efforts made to influence the red hot real estate over the summer. The province has brought in its 15 per cent tax on real estate purchases made by foreign nationals since then, which has potential to tamp down the number of sales to foreign buyers. Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board data shows the pace of sales is slowing.

NDP Housing Critic David Eby believes politics are at play in the decision to wait so long to release the information. “The dates of the release of the data have been totally erratic. First, a three-week period that didn’t include the end of the month, and then a release of data in the middle of the month that coincided with the announcement about the tax. It feels like they’re playing political games and I wonder if that’s the reason behind the continuing delay here.”

NEWS 1130 has tried to get an explanation from the Ministry of Finance, but has not been able to get one.

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