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Almost three-in-four residents think it would be a “good idea”, as majority chides “speculators” who are not part of the community.

Vancouver, BC – British Columbians are decidedly in favour of implementing a tax on absentee homeowners, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 73% of British Columbians believe levying a tax on people who acquire properties in a city but don’t live in them is a “very good” or “good” idea. This sentiment is strongest among residents of Metro Vancouver (77%), people aged 18 to 34 (76%) and those in the highest annual household income bracket (76%).


Seven-in-ten British Columbians (70%) think that, when foreigners buy homes here, their purchases boost the value of homes that are owned by Canadians. People who currently own their primary residence are more likely to feel this way (76%) than those who rent (60%).

On the other hand, 86% believe that people who own homes but don’t live in them are speculators and not really part of the community—a feeling that reaches 92% among those in the highest income bracket.

“Homeowners actually see some benefits from foreign ownership when it comes to the possibility of an increased value for their property,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Still, many residents are voicing dissatisfaction with the fact that these empty homes are having a negative effect on their community.”

While just 21% of British Columbians believe the debate on foreign real estate ownership in British Columbia is inherently racist, the proportion climbs to 35% among residents of East Asian descent.

Across the province, 38% of residents think real estate is the best long-term investment that they can make, followed by mutual funds (16%) and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) (10%).

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has fifteen full-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 17 to May 20, 2015, among 825 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Courtesy of Joe Mabel, CC