West Shore communities are leading the way when it comes to new housing stock in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media File)

West Shore communities are leading the way when it comes to new housing stock in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media File)

West Shore communities lead Greater Victoria in new housing stock

New figures show the speculation tax is having little effect on non-resident ownership

New housing figures raise questions about the provincial speculation tax and confirm the fast-growing nature of the West Shore.

Figures from Statistics Canada show that the share of residential properties owned by non-residents in British Columbia remained stable at 3.2 per cent from 2018 to 2019.

The provincial government started charging the provincial speculation and vacancy tax in the fall of 2018 in selected parts of the province including Greater Victoria to cool an overheated real estate sector by way of taxing non-residents who own properties in the province. Such homeowners can avoid the tax by renting out their properties.

The controversial tax has drawn legal challenges not to mention criticism from locals. But if the tax aims to discourage outsiders from owning second homes in British Columbia, it appears to have failed, at least based on the available evidence, with the provision that the available data is of a small sample size, namely a year.

RELATED: Langford, Colwood, Sidney lead region in housing starts

Statistics Canada also shows that the provincial housing stock is growing faster in urban areas than rural areas, with the proviso that housing growth in CMAs (Census Metropolitan Areas) takes place at their respective edges rather than in their geographic centres.

Consider Victoria’s CMA. Growth in Census Subdivisions of Langford (up four per cent), Colwood (up 3.2 per cent) and Sooke (up 2.7 per cent) has outpaced growth in the Victoria Census Subdivision (up 1.3 per cent). These figures broadly match demographic figures that show the geographic centres of CMAs losing population to outer districts or even other regions entirely.

This trend has become especially notable in Vancouver’s CMA as the suburbs ringing the City of Vancouver, as well as the Fraser Valley and beyond, have recorded steady population gains in the face of high housing prices in the core. This said, CMAs including Vancouver continue to draw international migrants as well as younger individuals coming to CMAs for post-secondary education from other, less urban parts of the province.

Victoria CMA appears to experience a comparable phenomenon, with the areas outside the core communities of Victoria and Saanich but especially the West Shore absorbing regional population growth, as measured by additional housing.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

Police will be out in force to target drunk drivers this weekend as part of ICBC’s annual CounterAttack campaign. (Contributed - ICBC)
Police launch Christmas CounterAttack this weekend

On average, 11 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on the Island every year

Victoria police arrested a man in a Yates Street grocery store Nov. 27 after he refused to wear a mask. (Black Press Media File photo)
Belligerent man arrested in Victoria grocery store after refusing to wear mask

Officers fined the man $230 under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read