Local Real Estate Board Continuing Fight Against Foreign Buyer Tax

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In response to the fifteen-percent tax on real estate purchases by foreign buyers in the metro Vancouver area, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board – which covers municipalities such as Langley, North Delta, Surrey, and White Rock – has recently issued a “call to action” for its 3,000-plus members to fight against the tax.

The board’s president, Charles Wiebe, claims the tax has hurt both clients and the housing market and has also created an “unfair ripple effect” which has hurt local Canadians. “The government needs to look at it again, and change it,” he says. “There are still deals coming forward that may collapse because of this.”

Specifically, the board urges its members to maintain pressure on their MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly), including by writing to them. “It’s not uncommon for governments to amend legislation after the fact,” Wiebe said, “but they’ll only do so with significant pressure and proof of impact.” A similar letter-writing campaign was initiated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver just days after the tax was implemented.

In an e-mail, Wiebe claimed that the number of unsuccessful real estate deals in the area has already doubled since the foreign buyer tax went into effect on August 2nd, though the board is still in the process of determining which transactions failed directly because of the tax. The board will also continue to reach out to government officials via mail, e-mail, and phone.

According to one FVREB memo: “As we told them, we’re angry. As a profession, we were not consulted. Our requests to meet immediately after the tax came out were ignored. We are genuinely concerned for the well-being of our clients and will not stop communicating with them until they address our concerns.”

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