Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

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Real estate association economist asks if B.C.’s flipping tax is worth the trouble

Policy watchers are split on the value of B.C.’s plans for a provincial flipping tax targeting those looking to make a quick buck in the real estate market. Brendon Ogmundson, chief economist of the B.C. Real Estate Association, says the tax could end up reducing the overall number of homes on the market while only applying to a small number of properties.

Paul Kershaw, a policy professor at the University of B.C. and founder of the think tank Generation Squeeze, said while the tax may only impact a small number of properties, it sends an important message that the province is “recalibrating” around the principle of having a home first and an investment second.

“We still need to turn our attention to the here and now, looking back at how much wealth has already been accumulated, and just putting in a flipping tax is not going to address that,” he said. As of Jan. 1, 2025, homes in B.C. sold within the first year after being purchased will face a tax rate of 20 per cent of the profit, while that tax rate drops gradually to zero after two years.

Ogmundson said about 10 per cent of real estate transactions in Metro Vancouver take place within two years of a purchase, and many of those would qualify under a long list of exemptions including divorce or job relocation. He said would-be sellers who don’t qualify for an exemption but are near the end of the two-year window may be tempted to wait it out.

“It’s a very real risk that because of the way this policy is written, how it discourages potential listings, that you could end up with prices higher than they would have been otherwise,” he said. Kershaw said B.C.’s housing situation is caused by more than issues with supply and people have normalized the idea that housing prices will continue to rise.

While crediting Premier David Eby with having “better housing policy than any premier we’ve had before,” Kershaw said it’s not accurate for the premier to blame all of the province’s housing woes on abuse from investors. “What we need to be saying is, hard truth: We’ve created a lot of housing unaffordability in this province over the last many years, but we’ve also created a lot of housing wealth,” he said.









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