Columnist calls for temporary ban on foreign ownership in BC

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There is a dramatic, new call for action to cool Vancouver’s over-heated real estate market.

A local columnist says it’s time to bring in a six month ban on all new foreign home ownership in BC.

Bill Tieleman argues that cooling off period would give time to figure out long-term solutions and would communicate to the rest of the world that our region is not simply available to buyers offering the highest amount for an investment.

“When the Bank of Canada and the Bank of Nova Scotia says they’re restricting mortgages in the Vancouver area because of the incredible skyrocketing prices, you know there’s a problem and you know you have to do something and it has to be dramatic.”

Tieleman says promises by the government to end shadow flipping and collect data on foreign ownership won’t do enough.

“So we need to freeze things, make sure we understand exactly what’s going on and take steps during that six month period to ensure that British Columbians and Canadian citizens are protected and that we don’t have a giant collapse, because what happens when prices go radically up, they can also come dramatically down and we could have a bubble that bursts and then a lot of people would be hurt by that as well. So, I think it really would be the right idea ot put a freeze on things, it doesn’t mean there would never be any opportunity for foreign owners to buy, but it is certainly something that we have to think about as we go forward in British Columbia, and in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, areas where there are a lot of foreign purchases, whether we want some restrictions on that.”

He doesn’t think a freeze wouldn’t affect trade relations.

“Real estate mogul, Bob Rennie has said we don’t want to impact the Chinese in particular because of a lot of business we do with them, but I hardly find that because a few Chinese billionaires can’t buy multi-million dollar homes in Vancouver, they’re going to stop buying our lumber, our coal, our commodities, etcetera, and also not sell us the commodities that they sell in vast numbers, televisions, cell phones, etcetera. It’s way too big a business for them to be worried about a real estate deal or two going down. So, it really is kind of a ridiculous statement.

Obviously, it’s not aimed solely at any one country, it’s all foreign buyers, it’s not discriminating against one country. If China is more affected by it, so be it, but it’s not in any way, aimed at any one country.”

But he admits, the chances of the Liberals taking on his plan are very slim, pointing to money they get from the real estate development industry.