The Province says it is taking action to fight real estate speculation and turn more empty units into homes for people by expanding the speculation and vacancy tax to 13 new municipalities.
The speculation and vacancy tax will be applied to the following municipal boundaries to help ensure more empty homes are made available for the people who work and live there:
Lake Country, Peachland
Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland
Parksville, Qualicum Beach
Salmon Arm and Kamloops
Residential property owners in these communities will need to declare for the first time in January 2025 based on how they used their property in 2024.
“There is a housing crisis across the country and it is creating economic challenges, including people feeling pushed out of their communities and labour shortages,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance. “With so many people struggling to find secure housing, we have to keep taking action – we can’t afford to pull back. The speculation tax is one of the ways we can help increase affordable housing options for people and communities.”
Expanding the speculation tax is part of B.C.’s Homes for People plan that includes actions to fight speculation, deliver more homes within reach for people, and speed up delivery of new homes.
“There’s something wrong when people are buying up investment homes and keeping them empty while others are living in vehicles and can’t find housing,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “Homes are meant to be lived in by people in our communities, not used for speculation. While some would cancel the speculation tax – giving a handout to speculators and turning homes back into empty condos – we know that people can’t afford that. We’re taking action to make more homes available for people throughout the province.”
An independent review released in 2022 found that the tax had helped deliver more than 20,000 homes in Metro Vancouver alone.
The report included recommendations that government consider taking a phased approach to expanding the speculation and vacancy tax to additional communities to build on the success of the measure and deliver more homes for people. Exemptions include primary residences, properties with a long-term tenant and life events, such as separation or divorce. More than 99% of people living in B.C. are exempt from paying the tax, BC says.