Finance Minister Mike de Jong and Premier Christy Clark announce new tax on foreign property purchases that took effect Aug. 2.

Foreign real estate investment stays low

Hike in property purchase tax for non-Canadian buyers dropped sales in Metro Vancouver, hasn't pushed them up in Victoria

Newly released data for September show foreign real estate purchases account for less than two per cent of sales value in Metro Vancouver, down from nearly 10 per cent before a new tax was imposed on non-resident purchases.

Of the 5,150 residential property transfers in Metro Vancouver in September, 1.8 per cent involved purchasers who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada, according to figures released Friday by the B.C. finance ministry.

Province-wide, foreign purchases accounted for 1.7 per cent of value since a new 15 per cent property purchase tax was added to foreign purchases on Aug. 2. The additional tax applies only to Metro Vancouver properties.

Premier Christy Clark and Finance Minister Mike de Jong unveiled the new tax on short notice, in response to an apparent steep increase in foreign property purchases that was seen as fuelling rapid price increases.

De Jong noted at the time that the Metro Vancouver measure might push foreign buyers to the Victoria region, but that has not emerged.

In the Capital Regional District, foreign buyers represented 3.5 per cent of the residential real estate market from Aug. 2 to Sept. 30, compared to the previous three months when foreign buyers accounted for 3.9 per cent of sales.