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Foreign Ownership Still a Hot Button in Vancouver

A controversial proposal has incited new debate about the causes of Vancouver's skyrocketing housing prices. Potential solutions depend on an accurate diagnosis.
January 17, 2018, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Josef Hanus

The debate over foreign ownership of real estate is heating up in Vancouver, after B.C. Greens leader Andrew Weaver called for the city to limit property ownership to Canadian residents.

The CBC News broke the news about Weaver's proposal on January 9, noting that Weaver is following the model provided by New Zealand. "B.C. Finance Minister Carole James says the government is looking at different options to cool the housing market but a ban on foreign investors isn't one of them," according to the article.

Clare Hennig writes a follow up article, focusing mostly on the case against real estate protectionism. "Nathan Lauster, an associate professor of sociology at UBC and a blogger on city issues, says banning foreign investment misses the larger issue of local real estate speculation," writes Hennig.

Recent news picked up Planetizen on the subject of Vancouver's housing market, and the policies crafted in response, would seem to support the words of both James and Lauster. In December 2017, the city released a major housing policy package that focuses on the rental market for solutions. In November, market analysis showed that a 2016 law taxing foreign real estate buyers had not managed to reduce housing prices in the city.

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Published on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 in CBC News
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