New polls reveal how the public feels about housing and real estate in BC

Many Realtors bemoan the changes that have been coming on stream the last couple of years whether it’s mortgage stress tests, rising interest rates, loss of self-regulation, speculation taxes or dipping sales numbers.

How interesting then to step back and discover how the rest of the population views these matters. Is it possible that the public we serve is not always in line with our perspective?
Two recent polls have revealed interesting statistics, some which may surprise you.

On May 7, the Mustel Research Group revealed its findings from a survey carried out in partnership with the CBC that tells us British Columbians “support measures to reduce speculative investment in real estate” and have a “high level of concern about housing affordability across the province, with over nine-in-ten reporting to be at least somewhat concerned.”

Foreign investment or speculative buying is thought to be a major issue with 86 per cent believing it is hurting British Columbia, and the majority believing it is having a significant impact on housing affordability.

Almost six-in-ten also believe it is time to consider banning foreign investment in BC real estate all together, the report says.

Other findings from the research show that even property owners support measures to address housing affordability (78% per cent), even if they make their home or property less valuable. And the majority (73 per cent) of all British Columbians think speculation can be addressed without impacting the overall economy.

Then, in an Angus Reid poll released on May 9, it was found that although voters’ approval of the provincial government’s initiatives of the last year falls within traditional partisan lines, that gap closes significantly on the issue of affordable housing.

Housing prices and affordability are top of mind for British Columbians, the poll found, and ranked number one on a list of other issues — well above the economy, transportation and taxes.

Fully three-quarters of British Columbians (75%) say increasing the tax on foreign buyers of real estate implemented during former premier Christy Clark’s government from 15 per cent to 20 per cent is a good idea. Likewise, the same number (75%) hold this view of the NDP’s speculation tax, which is aimed at owners of residential property – whether foreign or domestic – who don’t pay income taxes in the province.

Two other housing-related measures also found widespread support.

Two-thirds (66%) say an increase in the property transfer tax on homes with values higher than $3 million is a good idea, and a similar number (68%) say this of a proposed increase in the school tax on homes assessed at more than $3 million.

For more about the polls read them online.
Mustel Research Group
Angus Reid