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Homemakers, students own $107 million in Vancouver neighbourhood

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC NDP is once again drawing attention to who owns some of Vancouver’s priciest properties on the city’s West Side.

The party’s Housing Critic David Eby is sharing numbers which show a total of 32 homemakers and students in MacKenzie Heights own $107 million worth of property. He’s also learned 21 homemakers and students have earned more than $15 million through selling property in that same neighbourhood.

Documents obtained by Eby also show 29 of those homeowners have also been able to take out a mortgage. “There’s a waitress that bought a $2.3 million property. And there was a casino dealer and a cashier who bought a $1.2 million property as well. Students, homemakers and waitresses, by definition, have very low or no incomes. Is this why MacKenzie Heights and other neighbourhoods throughout the Lower Mainland are reporting incredibly low incomes, despite real estate values being so high? Are the people purchasing these $1 million homes reporting poverty level incomes for tax purposes?”

Eby feels this equation doesn’t add up, and he’s calling for the provincial government and the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure there are more auditors locally to enforce tax laws. Beyond the enforcement of existing laws, including BC’s new 15 per cent foreign buyers tax, Eby wants changes made to existing rules.

“The problem is when you have a homemaker who can buy five properties throughout the province or waitresses buying properties — the question is whether a 15 per cent [tax] makes a significant difference. The other question is why are people listing their occupations as housewife or student for some many high-valued transactions? I can’t say that anybody has done anything improper here. The question that I have is where is the money coming from?”

For example, under the current laws, a wealthy person can gift cash to a relative totally tax free, and that beneficiary can then buy a property, and if it’s their primary residence, they can then sell that property again without having to pay a capital gains tax — something Eby says should change.

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