Oct. 2, 2020

Housing affordability rests on politicians' shoulders

Affordable housing is something we’ll hear ad nauseum over the next few weeks as politicians try to persuade us they have the solutions for what ails us. We hear all the platitudes about fixing what’s wrong. The bottom line is they are all blowing smoke. 

When it comes to housing affordability it is our governments that put shelter out of reach of so many British Columbians. We can go to the usual suspects like municipal red tape driving up the costs of housing, and it’s real.

The bane of us all, it’s taxes that put the costs of housing beyond the reach of so many families. How can anyone get out of the shadow of homelessness when purchasing a house that is so highly taxable. The property transfer tax on a $500,00 house carries a one-per-cent tax on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remaining $300,000, for a total $8,000 in property transfer tax. And that’s up front. How much does that add to the monthly mortgage payment over 25 years? That’s the amount that could disqualify some people from being able to purchase.

And keep in mind, where can you find a house at $500,000 or less these days? Look at a $750,000 home and it becomes a $763,000 home.

How many more families would qualify to buy a home if it wasn’t for the property transfer tax?The next time a candidate talks about affordability, ask him or her about this incredible obstacle to affordability. Just keep a shovel ready for the response.