VANCOUVER Nov 29 Foreign buyers continued to
scale back Vancouver-area property purchases in October after
British Columbia introduced a tax on international investors
aimed at cooling the city's red-hot housing market, data from
the Canadian province showed on Tuesday.
Overseas investors made up 3 percent of home sales in
October in Metro Vancouver, according to data from the
province's finance ministry. That was slightly higher than 1.8
percent in September but well down from the 13.2 percent between
June 10 and Aug. 1, the period before the tax took effect.
British Columbia introduced the 15 percent foreign property
transfer tax effective Aug. 2 in an effort to improve
affordability in Canada's most expensive property market.
The provincial government acted after many residents and
housing advocates complained that foreign buyers, especially
from China, were driving up prices and making homes unaffordable
for local people. Critics of the tax have said it is unfair to
existing property owners and will hurt the economy.
About 140 residential property transfers valued at C$115
million ($85.62 million) involved foreigners in the Vancouver
area during October, the province said. That was out of a total
of about 4,700 transfers valued at C$3.6 billion.
Some 431 property transfer tax returns, totaling $36 million
have been filed in the period since the tax was introduced until
Nov. 14, the province said. As part of its compliance process,
215 audit files have been opened to investigate if additional
taxes should have been paid.
The province said it was closely monitoring foreign house
purchasing data from an area on the southern tip of Vancouver
Island, which includes the province's capital, Victoria where
10.3 percent of the value of transactions was due to foreign
purchases. The property tax does not apply in this area.
Data out earlier this month showed overall Vancouver-area
home sales fell nearly 40 percent year-to-year in October in the
wake of the tax.
($1 = 1.3431 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by