The City of Colwood has thrown its support behind the province’s speculation tax as a way to help cool off housing prices in Greater Victoria.
During a meeting earlier this week, council voted not to send a letter as requested by the Victoria Real Estate Board, asking the province to take a sober second look at the unintended consequences the tax could have before it’s implemented later this year.
Coun. Cynthia Day supported the speculation tax, noting in other cities around the world where a similar tax was implemented, it was of benefit to the local market.
“It didn’t solve all their housing affordability problems, but it did a lot towards bringing down prices in a very volatile market,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to see anything that supports speculation in housing. It’s very important that we keep housing as affordable as possible.”
Coun. Jason Nault saw first-hand the effects of people purchasing properties as investments only to have them sit vacant. While waiting for his current house to be built, he rented a house in Colwood and said almost half of the other homes on the street were unoccupied for a majority of the year.
He hopes that will change once the tax is implemented.
“There were no people living there and they were not people who contributed much to Colwood,” he said. “I understand this might drive down in the short term prices of existing homes. They’re ridiculously priced as it stands.”
While Colwood is in support of the tax, some municipalities throughout the region are not.
Langford Mayor Stew Young blasted the tax recently calling it a job killer that will only drive housing prices up.
Last week the municipality voted to ask the province to opt out of the tax. Sidney also voted unanimously to ask Premier John Horgan to reconsider the tax and an exemption as well.