View Full Version : Foreign Ownership of Housing

6th Aug 2016, 01:42
There is a serious problem with this phenomenon in this city. In response the provincial government has imposed a 15% tax on foreign and off-shore ownership of all housing units.

Personally, I think it should have been around 30%.
The problem has led to average working people not being able to get on the housing ladder by just about any means.
Steps are in place to track and identify any attempts at the now expected fraudulent transactions meant to by-pass the law.
It has only been in place for just over a week but it already having a positive effect. Home ownership by foreign nationals (often combined with non-residency of the housing), averages 13-16%, in some suburbs over 20%.

I know Sydney and London share this problem, perhaps it is time to do something similar there, and I expect other areas.

6th Aug 2016, 04:51
The problem is also linked to the extreme likelihood of a substantial amount of the foreign money being "black money" (i.e. - corruption or bribe money) - and the fact that properties are bought in corporate names, students names, and various other devious ownership-hiding steps - all designed to hide the exact money trail, and the true ownership of the properties.

This is a serious problem that no politician has the guts to address, and to introduce legislation to properly verify the money source, verify the true ownership, and to fully check on how many local and overseas laws have been broken with the property purchases.

6th Aug 2016, 06:39
Thats about right for all Politico's "All Bark.No Bite"

Gertrude the Wombat
6th Aug 2016, 10:03
Trouble is if you go for "fairness" wot about all the European property owned by Brits?

6th Aug 2016, 10:39
I think its likely that most contributors to this forum are on the wrong side of 50, are in, or have been in reasonably well paid jobs and are likely to be home owners. In my case I bought my first house at age 24 and there was no struggle to meet the mortgage on a single income.

My three kids on the other hand have all only managed to buy their first houses in their late 30s. All are in good, reasonably well paid jobs, with wives/partners similarly employed but it's been a stretch for all of them.

There is no doubt that successive British governments have just ignored this problem, seemingly unwilling to mess with the "housing market" - whatever that is. The fact that overseas investors can buy whole blocks of new apartments in London off plan, and in many cases leave them unoccupied while they appreciate in value is a gross misuse of scarce property. I believe in Denmark potential foreign buyers need to get a permit before they can go ahead. We need something like that here, and perhaps a trebling of council tax if property is left unoccupied.

Metro man
6th Aug 2016, 10:50
In Australia foreign investors can only buy new houses which avoids increasing the price of the existing stock and creates economic activity through the construction industry. The housing supply is kept up which helps keep prices in check.

In Malaysia, foreigners are prevented from purchasing property below a certain price which ensures prices stay down at the lower end of the market so the locals aren't priced out.

Surely similar measures could be applied in the UK ?

6th Aug 2016, 13:17
This will make the blood boil a little. A "who owns what map" of England & Wales. Despite everyone in the sector saying its a very bad idea the government are intent on selling off the Land Registry. Information such as this would then no longer be in the public domain.
Private Eye | Official Site - the UK's number one best-selling news and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop (http://www.private-eye.co.uk/registry)

6th Aug 2016, 13:56
Whoa, so free trade and the flow of money is out?

Who benefits in the long run for that?

In the good ole USA we sold out to the Japs and now to the Chinese, meanwhile anybody with funds to invest looks wordwide for something safe and free from government interference in free trade.

Ken Borough
6th Aug 2016, 14:00

The right wing government in New South Wales is also trying to privatise the Land Registry to the highest bidder. Understandably, the legal profession and conveyancers strongly oppose the proposal. Abrogation of government responsibilities for the good order of government and administration is never ending. :ugh::ugh::ugh:

6th Aug 2016, 17:38
Whoa, so free trade and the flow of money is out?

Free trade in the housing market? Try buying a house in China or Russia and see how far you get! It's one-way traffic

6th Aug 2016, 17:44
I believe the OP was referring to the government of British Columbia, Canada.

6th Aug 2016, 18:26
BBC London reporting on new development close to Harrods where cheapest price is 5 Million.

UK Govt knows its hot money but refuses to do anything apart from Lip service.

6th Aug 2016, 19:00
In the UK it's practically impossible to exclude foreign ownership because anonymous corporations can own property.

Any "legal person" can buy property. A legal personality is not necessarily a human being. It can be any corporate entity. In Scotland anyone can set up a Limited Liability Partnership and no ordinary person can trace who the beneficial owners are. Such an LLP can buy property anywhere on the UK mainland.

You can't control foreign ownership of property in the UK.

6th Aug 2016, 19:04
Unless the laws are changed to eliminate loopholes.

6th Aug 2016, 19:15
Fat chance of that happening.

Far too many rich Brits using BVI, et al, boltholes for their taxfree cash.

They don't care if Nigerians and Saudis and Chinese are also using those loopholes, just so long as they can continue to do so themselves.

Why do you think the Cameron family filtered millions through such tax loopholes?

6th Aug 2016, 19:17
Is it too much to think TM may not be of the same ilk?

6th Aug 2016, 19:22
This thing is far bigger than TM or that grey man who failed the arithmetic test to become a bus conductor on London Transport.

She's never going to be allowed to change the system itself. She may be allowed to piss about on the edges, like Livingstone and Boris were, but she'll never be allowed to change anything as important as that.

6th Aug 2016, 20:14
I see today post Brexit that property prices other than high end have increased 2% since Brexit
More revealing the interest in London property from
The Chinese has increased by 40% since Brexit and the lower pound! The Chinese now account for 50 % of flat sales in London

With a weaker pound the City is still seen as stable following TM leadership so the uk is seen as a cheap place to buy by foreign investors

With new builds being marketed in the Far East before the UK and pressure from the large building companies the government won't do anything to upset the apple kart
Again the Bank of England have dropped interests rates to no doubt Stoke the home market into continuing the borrowing society and further making interest rate rises almost politically impossible in the future ((

Mostly Harmless
7th Aug 2016, 14:56
I have a very, very difficult time feeling any sympathy for you and the residents of Vancouver. All of you were more than happy to take those cheques from the Chinese when they started showing up and offering 50% or more above the asking price for the houses... buying entire blocks at a time. Yes, the house prices are beyond logic out there. Yes, it's foriegn money that is driving it. But, you have no one to blame but yourselves and your own greed for creating this problem that you now complain about... that your kids can't afford to live in Vancouver any more. Home ownership is not a right. It never has been. Your kids are just going to have to rent or move to a place they can afford. That's the world that was created for them through the greed that has been the realestate market in Vancouver since the mid nineties. A tax will not fix anything. The only reason the government out there put that tax on to houses (and BTW, 15% on a 4 million dollar house is the sum total of FA to that buyer) is becuase they've suddenly realised they have an emptying city where no one pays any Provincial Taxes, Sales Taxes, or contributes a dime to the local economy. The Government, who has become an adict of collecting Land Tranfer Taxes every time a house is sold has realised that they are missing out on the larger picture, and now they are trying to make up for lost revenue. That is all that is occuring there. If you think it anything other than that, you have bought into a lot of propoganda.

I feel your frustration because I look at what is going on there and think it's ridiculous. But, the horses left the barn a long time ago and unless the BC Government, and even the Federal Government, is willing to give up some revenue in the short term and put in some legislation, nothing will change. No Nation ever taxed it's way to greatness.

In the mean time, you and your peers are all that's left to address the situation and the only way you can do that is... not take those huge cheques for your houses. Put your money where your beliefs are and sell below market to local buyers when you sell your house. Force the prices down. Not willing to do that? Don't complain. You can't have it both ways.

onetrack: Very true. A lot of that money is being used as bribes and ways to hold money offshore instead of inside a communist nation. Also a great safe house to run to if you find yourself on the wrong side of local government back home.

25th Aug 2016, 22:02
Only been in effect since 2Aug but it's working.

Predictions from Central 1 forecast:

The new foreign buyer tax will reduce Metro Vancouver area sales by 10 per cent.
The provincial median annual price will rise 12 per cent this year to $480,000.
The median annual price will gain four per cent in 2017, and 3.5 per cent in 2018.
In Metro Vancouver, following a near 20 per cent gain in annual median price this year to $705,000, prices will rise 4 per cent in 2017 and 4.4 per cent in 2018 to $765,000.
Housing sales growth rotates towards Vancouver Island and the Central Okanagan in 2017, before shifting back to Greater Vancouver by 2018,
I note one of the new real estate businesses (year and a half old) in my neighbourhoood (an ad for this enterprise showed 10 agents lined up side by side - all Chinese. Checking their website - the only Caucasian on the management team is one of the trainers. (Their telephone number is 777-8888 for those who believe in lucky numbers). That give you a clue about foreign investment and not living where you've bought? Big office - when I passed by on Wed. its was closed in the middle of the day with no explanations. I will check again today.

26th Aug 2016, 04:14
We have seen a significant increase in prices in the Okanagan since December. For a while any house that came on the market at a half reasonable price had multiple offers in the first two hours!

As an aside, all my kids have bought houses (and one of them has two) though only a couple of them are in Vancouver.

26th Aug 2016, 13:59
A Chinese person I once worked with related a story to me about his past.

He once used to live in a luxury apartment in Singapore.

The property and the job he had were all arranged for him by agents for the Chinese government. He didn't own one cent of the property yet most of the salary he made was used to pay off the mortgage.

It was all a charade, and even though the property was nice, he was still dirt poor which he lamented as his was starting a family.

At great risk to himself and his family he abandoned everything and fled to Australia before that scourge entered its shores.

He knows he is lucky and really appreciates being free of these agents. Today in Australia many others are not so lucky, and it's not just the Chinese doing it.

Ancient Observer
26th Aug 2016, 18:10
London needs a special Purchase tax. For all plcs and non-EU nationals buying a property, I would charge them 100% Purchase tax.

Properties would still be cheaper than the equivalent of Beijing, Shanghai and HKG.

But at least our children might stand a chance. it might yield a few pennies to help the dimwits who run the NHS.

26th Aug 2016, 18:14
and depress the London housing market?.....Not a chance.