June 30, 2017

On June 29, the Lieutenant-Governor asked the BC NDP to form government. 

The BC NDP and Green parties released a 10-page joint agreement on May 30 that describes the foundation of their relationship including consultation and dispute resolution, and highlights priority issues.

Real estate is mentioned just once in the agreement in section 4(b), where the parties agree to:

“Make housing more affordable by increasing the supply of affordable housing and take action to deal with the speculation and fraud that is driving up house prices.”

Based on party platforms, and by the parties’ comments at our Provincial Housing Forum held on April 9, here’s what we might expect:

BC NDP Party

NDP election platform

Market housing

  • Provide a tax credit of up to $20,000 to create rental basement suites. 
  • Establish a multi-agency task force to fight tax fraud and money laundering in the real estate marketplace.
  • Keep 15 per cent foreign buyers tax in Metro Vancouver.
  • Implement a 2% absentee speculators’ tax and direct revenue into a housing affordability fund to support housing affordability initiatives province-wide.
  • Review the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Loan program (up to $37,500 interest matching down payment loan up to $37,500).

Market and rental housing

  • Build 114,000 rental, social, co-op and owner purchase homes over 10 years through partnerships. Homes will be a mix of housing for students, singles, seniors, and families. In urban and suburban centers, will build affordable housing near transit hubs.
  • Use public land to build affordable housing.

Rental housing

  • Bring in an annual $400 renter’s rebate.
  • End the fixed-term lease loophole and ensure controls on rent increases are enforced.
  • Pass legislation requiring fair treatment during renovations and demolitions of rental properties.
  • Tighten rules protecting good landlords and tenants.
  • Provide resources so the Residential Tenancy Branch can resolve disputes fairly and quickly.
  • Tax short-stay home rentals that take properties out of the rental pool.
  • Reinvest in and support co-op housing.
  • Allow municipalities to zone areas where only rental buildings can be built.
  • Allow colleges and universities to build affordable on- and near-campus rental housing.

Taxes

  • Increase corporate income tax to 12% from 11%.
  • Cut small business tax rate to 2%.
  • Increase taxes on individuals with incomes over $150,000.

Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)

  • Revitalize the land reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission.

Transportation

  • The George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project would be put on hold.

Fuel

  • The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would be put on hold. 

 

BC Green Party

BC Green Party election platform

Market housing

  • Work with the federal government to introduce measures to eliminate money laundering and international property speculation.
  • Introduce a sliding Property Transfer Tax (PTT) with rates from zero per cent on the first $200,000 to 12% on property valued $3+ million.
  • Apply the PTT to the transfer of beneficial ownership (the person for whom the property is being held in trust).
  • Introduce a speculation PTT to discourage property flipping.
  • Expand the foreign buyers tax to apply across BC, and increase it to 30%.
  • Tax lifetime capital gains of more than $750,000 on principal residences.
  • Work with financial institutions and the federal government to develop protections for recent home buyers negatively affected by market cooling initiatives.
  • Make the home owner grant income-based.
  • Introduce a progressive property tax system that imposes a surtax based on property value and allows home owners to credit rental income and their previous year’s BC income tax against the surtax.
  • Establish an incentive program for commercial building retrofits.

Rental housing

  • Invest $750 million per year to help build 4,000 affordable housing units per year.
  • Work with federal and local governments to make land available to build affordable housing.
  • Work with social housing agencies and federal and local governments to develop and implement a provincial housing plan to increase the supply of affordable rental units.
  • Lead a comprehensive rethink of zoning to ensure it includes affordable housing densification along transit corridors, revitalizing neighbourhoods surrounding schools, cultural and social amenities and complete communities.
  • Invest $100 million in retrofits and renovations of older social housing units.
  • Partner with First Nations, non-profit developers, co-operatives and the private sector to support planning and construction of low income rental units.
  • Introduce incentives to build or convert existing buildings for rental property.
  • Update the Residential Tenancy Act to control rent increases and protect tenants.
  • Work with BC Housing to include private rental properties in their portfolio of affordable housing.
  • Maintain or enhance existing housing support programs to address income security.

Agricultural Land Reserve

  • Enhance protection of farm land and increase proportion of ALR land in use for agricultural purposes.

Taxes

  • Increase corporate tax rate to 12% from 11%.
  • Increase share of tax contributed by those earning over $108,460 per year (by 1% in 2017/18, rising to 3% in 2020/21).

Transportation

  • The George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project will be put on hold.

Fuel

  • The Trans Mountain pipeline will be put on hold.