It’s so ridiculous … at first, I believed it was a joke: Premier Christy Clark has allowed BC real estate agents to join her trade delegation to Asia.
No! Can’t be, I thought: at a time when studies show real estate in Vancouver has become so expensive, a young couple will have to save for 23 years just to get a down payment to buy a home… the LAST thing we should be doing is PROMOTING MORE BC REAL ESTATE SALES OVERSEAS!! (Yes, I’m SHOUTING that!)
Are Clark and the BC government so out of touch with the plight of our own Vancouver residents, being pushed further and further out of the real estate market by FOREIGN investors????
It’s so improper, insensitive and smacking of a “let-them-eat-cake” attitude that it’s absurd!
And I don’t buy any feeble excuse that the realtors on the trip will be pushing commercial properties, not residential.
I believe selling off huge commercial developments … at substantial profits … can’t help but impact the residential base : driving up not only sales prices once more, but rental prices as well … making it even tougher for our own citizens/taxpayers/young families/singles.
It’s great for folks like me who already own and are planning to eventually sell, downsize and live off the profits.
But is that the government’s proper role? Helping those who already have get richer … by ENCOURAGING rich foreign investors to keep coming, keep buying up everything in sight … at the cost of our own struggling to just get into the market?
Trade trips should sell BC as a great place for investment in our industries, our resources, our technology.
I support free enterprise … and I do not support the idea of banning foreigners buying BC properties. Would we really ban Americans (it’s not Asians buying places here)from owning property in, say, Whistler? Or somewhere on Vancouver Island or up the coast near Alaska? Or in any towns or cities where they work for a multi-national or have family? It would so difficult to enforce (probably violate international treaties and our own Charter of Rights; and, it would also be easy to circumvent (numbered companies, having others here hold the title in trust, etc.) …and I just don’t agree with such a xenophobic philosophy.
And remember, I’m one of the hundreds of thousands of Canadian snowbirds who own places south of the border or in other places, like the US (esp Arizona, Hawaii, Florida), Mexico, Cost Rica, etc. Should we be forbidden from doing so? Big Brother society … here we come!
However, the impact of outsiders purchasing up so many of the condos and homes in the Lower Mainland is FAR greater than any impact our own snowbirds have on residents and young families in the much larger foreign sunbelts trying to buy homes. In fact, prices there are still comparatively low and what usually sells to snowbirds are full-time retirement residences or units in WHOLE communities (seniors, recreational etc.) specifically designed, built for and aimed at snowbirds …from not only Canada, but other US states and even Europe/South America.
And the economic impact of “outsiders” is a positive one…so much so…many restaurants, retail outlets, service businesses and whole malls survive and flourish because of snowbirds. (It’s actually very strange to be in Florida in, say October, and see how EMPTY the stores, restaurants and malls are … hurting with only “locals” as customers.
So “foreigners” should have a place here … as investors, part-time residents and immigrants … buying places to live. But not as tax dodgers or money launderers, profiteers who buy up units just to flip them overseas to others who will then flip them again … before anyone even steps foot inside.
Unlike snowbirds, these people benefit almost no one … no local businesses, restaurants, retail outlets …. only themselves through their schemes, the sellers, the lawyers and accountants who handle the transactions, the government, in collecting property transfer taxes and, of course, the real estate agents and companies who manage and may even manipulate the whole system to fill their pockets as well.
So when a government allows real estate sales people to join an official delegation actively …. it is actively backing and even encouraging the sale of our own LAND and PROPERTY, and that is NOT expanding business or trade.
That is GREED: selling off OUR people’s birthright … right from under our feet.
Shame on them!