Relentless High Immigration Has Caused Unaffordable Housing—Deal With It !!
The results of an Angus Reid poll released last week show enormous public support for a tax on foreign buyers of houses. However, the poll’s most important effect should be that the Angus Reid polling group take the logical next step.
It should conduct a new evidence-based poll which will spur the sluggards at all three levels of government into action. For several years, governments have done virtually nothing to stop the rise in house prices. The public obviously feels that governments at all three levels have been grossly negligent.
The new poll should ask respondents the following questions : (1) Since academic research has concluded that relentless high immigration is the major cause of Unaffordable Housing, do you agree that Canada should reduce its immigration intake? (2) What should the reduction be?
As for the recent poll, 90% of residents support the 15% tax on Foreign buyers. Eighty-seven percent of residents support a tax on houses that have supposedly been bought to live in, but appear to have been bought solely as speculative investments. Many houses remain vacant.
Also in the recent poll, 40% of respondents felt that neither the tax on Foreign buyers nor the tax on Vacant houses will improve Housing Affordability or access to more rental housing.
The poll did not reveal why 40% of respondents feel this way. In spite of the sub-standard and often propaganda-style media reporting on immigration’s effect on House Prices, a definite number of Metro residents have heard of the academic research. And it is probable that a definite number agree that relentless high immigration is the cause of Metro Vancouver’s astronomic house prices. These people also probably think that unless the major cause of the Unaffordable Housing problem is dealt with, nothing of lasting significance will happen to end Unaffordable Housing.
One positive result of the 15% tax may be that the tax will remove a number of people who currently establish “New Benchmark Prices”. But in order for these people to be removed, the provincial government has to plug loopholes which may sabotage any positive contribution the 15% tax may make. The people who set “New Benchmark Prices” are probably a small number of buyers, but every time they outbid most other buyers, they establish precedent-setting new higher prices and make matters worse. Taking them out of the game will make some difference.
Ultimately, the 15% tax is a small measure.
In the end, unnecessary, relentless high immigration has to cease or house prices will continue to rise and the phenomenon of Unaffordable Housing will worsen.