Liberals pledge to end speculation tax, target pre-built condo flipping

Liberals will end spec tax

The BC Liberal Party is recommitting to ending B.C.’s current speculation tax, pledging to instead target the resale of pre-built condominiums. 

“The NDP’s speculation tax is a complete mislabeling of a greedy tax designed to hurt homeowners,” said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson in a Facebook town hall Thursday in Maple Ridge. 

The tax is currently 0.5 per cent of the assessed value of a home in certain communities for Canadians, or two per cent for foreign owners and satellite families.  A home that is not a principal residence must be rented out for at least six months per year to be exempt from the tax. There are several other exemptions available. 

“We will get rid of their phoney speculation tax and bring in a real tax on speculation, which is the flipping of paper contracts for condominiums,” Wilkinson said, explaining they will tax resale of condos before they are built. 

“That is a capital gains tax, it's not just an asset tax like the NDP’s version,” he added.

The BC NDP fired back Friday, noting that the tax is not paid by people who put their homes on the rental market. The party also cited a poll from earlier this year by  Research Co. that found 76 per cent of British Columbians are in favour of the tax. 

The NDP says the tax will bring in $80M in 2020/21 that will be funnelled back into new housing. Long-term condo rental housing stock increased by 11,118 units in B.C. in 2019, something the NDP is attributing to the spec tax. 

Within the Okanagan, the tax only applies to empty residences in Kelowna and West Kelowna, both cities that vigorously opposed its implementation.

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