West Kelowna wants exemption from proposed real estate speculation tax
VICTORIA - A community in British Columbia's Okanagan region is speaking out against the province's proposed real estate speculation tax, saying the levy could cause major problems.
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater says councillors have voted unanimously to ask the B.C. government for an exemption from the measure unveiled in last month's budget.
The speculation tax would apply to properties owned by people who do not pay income tax in B.C. in a bid to improve housing affordability and moderate the real estate market.
Findlater says his community of 35,000 includes a large population of part-time residents and he fears there could be a real estate crisis if people decide to sell rather than pay the levy.
He says there are already signs that developers are hitting pause on local projects in an effort to wait out the tax storm.
Finance Minister Carole James says she is reviewing the tax, which would cost homeowners $5 for every $1,000 of their property's assessed value this year and increase to $20 for every $1,000 of assessed value in 2019.