2.8% of Metro Homes Bought by Foreign Buyers since Tax Launch

New data revealed by finance minister says $102 million has been raised in revenues from 1,375 sales
Joannah Connolly
June 29, 2017

Just 2.8% of home sales in Metro Vancouver went to overseas buyers between August 2, 2016 – the date of the foreign buyer tax launch – and May 31, 2017, according to data released June 28 by finance minister Mike de Jong.

According to de Jong’s June 2017 fiscal update, the proportion of Metro Vancouver sales involving foreign nationals fell from 16.5% in June 2016 – when the BC government started collecting foreign buyer data – to less than 4% in January 2017.

Only 1,375 Metro Vancouver homes out of 48,713 sold between August 2 and May 31 went to overseas buyers, who were subject to the new foreign buyer tax. Those sales were still enough to raise $102 million in revenues for the provincial coffers in the 2016/17 fiscal year.

Richmond saw the biggest total decline in share of foreign buyers, with 27.2% of total sales in June 2016, falling to 1.3% in August 2016. However, that city has also seen the biggest resurgence in overseas buyers this year, at around 10% each month since January.

Mike de Jong foreign buyer graph June 28

Source: Ministry of Finance

The ministry’s findings jive reasonably well with a recent study released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, which compiled monthly agent survey data that suggested foreign nationals made up just 2.3% of agent’s buyers over the past year.

Despite the low proportions of overseas buyers in the current Metro Vancouver market, home prices continue to rise. The benchmark price of a composite home (all home types) in the region, as of May 2017, up nearly 9% compared with a year ago and closing in on $1 million, now at $967,500.

The positively spun foreign buyer data comes as the BC Liberals attempt to cling on to power, with their minority government in serious danger of losing its tenuous grip in today's (June 29) confidence vote at the BC Legislature.

View finance minister Mike de Jong’s fiscal update presentation on web PDF.

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.