LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Speculation tax could work

To the editor,

Re: Nanaimo, Lantzville express concerns after speculation tax tweaks, March 27.

Saw the Mayor of Nanaimo arguing against the ‘speculation tax.’ His rationale may work for developers, real estate agents and those in the construction business, but for those trying to purchase a home, not so much. We need to increase the speculation tax or control foreign ownership to ensure it is not profitable for foreign buyers to use our communities to launder money, establish a ‘bolthole’ should things go sideways in their own country, to move money out of their own countries, and/or to use our housing market as a great way to enhance their bank accounts.

Some may argue developers will only pass the price on to local consumers but they won’t be charged the tax, only foreign owners.

The price of housing is going up at a remarkable rate in the Nanaimo area. When houses go for $20K over asking you are starting to have a problem. Many may say, no, it’s great for the vendor, but wait a few years. Nanaimo will look like the Lower Mainland. They can’t get teachers and a whole other host of professionals to work in Greater Vancouver because they can’t afford the cost of housing.

As foreign buyers increasingly move into the Nanaimo market, you will see what they have in Richmond and Vancouver: half the houses empty on a street. It looks terrible because no one maintains them. Lawns grow out of control, neighbourhood businesses close because there aren’t people to come and shop.

Canada ought to do what New Zealand and Australia have done and regulate foreign ownership because if we don’t we won’t be able to afford to live in our own cities.

So Mr. Mayor, you won’t be getting my vote come October.

E.A. Foster, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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