Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James leaves the legislative assembly after delivering the budget from the legislative assembly at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Sept. 11, 2017.


British Columbia's New Democrats are promising initiatives in Tuesday's budget to increase the supply of affordable homes for families, students and seniors, while also bringing in measures to dampen speculation in the real estate market.

Finance Minister Carole James says her budget will take a multi-pronged approach to creating more housing options in a province where some seniors are forced to couch surf with friends and working couples are living in basement rentals because they can't afford a down payment on a home.

"Housing affordability is in a crisis in our province," said James. "That's clear from anyone you talk to who's trying to find affordable housing, whether they are tenants, renters, whether they are looking to own a home."

Story continues below advertisement

Recent statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver shows the average price of a detached home was $1.6-million, and the average price of an apartment was $665,400. Vacancy rates for renters are at one per cent or lower in most cities across B.C., including Victoria and Kelowna.

The government's throne speech last week promised the largest investment in affordable housing in the province's history, targeting social, student, senior, Indigenous and rental housing.

It also pledged to make more affordable and quality child care available by converting unlicensed spaces into licensed spots.

The speech said the government will bring down barriers to affordable housing including zoning changes to build more rental homes and increasing development at transit zones. The government plans as well to work on potential housing projects with churches and non-profit groups that have land.

"One piece isn't going to fix the housing crisis," James said. "There has to be a comprehensive plan. It has to be long-term. It has to address supply. It has to address demand. It has to address speculation and closing loopholes, and that's what you'll see in the budget."

The New Democrats promised during last year's election campaign to build 114,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson said the budget will outline a plan to involve all levels of government and community groups to increase the supply of affordable housing, but the crisis will not be solved overnight.

Story continues below advertisement

"It's going to take time," she said. "This is going to take concerted effort over time to deliver housing differently."

Robinson said one aim of the plan will be to boost rental housing in urban areas by increasing housing density along transit lines. The budget will include measures to address property speculation, but she wouldn't discuss the likelihood of a tax on speculation.

"There's certainly going to be some action coming out of the budget that addresses concerns around transparency, concerns around ownership," said Robinson.

The throne speech said the government will address the effect of speculation on real estate prices, promising to ensure those seeking to profit from real estate contribute to solutions.

Prof. Paul Kershaw of University of British Columbia's school of population said the government must make it unattractive to speculate on real estate by looking at taxing housing wealth.

"A principal residence is almost entirely sheltered from taxation in Canada," Kershaw said. "That works for one generation only. It's dreadful for their kids and grandchildren."

Story continues below advertisement

Kyle Kerr, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, said initiatives are needed to increase housing supply, especially for young families. The past two years in Victoria were record sales years, he said, but the city is facing supply shortages.

"Our hope is just that we will see the government come forward with demand side and supply side measures."

British Columbia’s Premier says he won’t respond to provocations from Alberta in an escalating trade spat. A day after Alberta banned B.C. wine imports, John Horgan said having “duelling premiers” is in no one’s interest. The Canadian Press
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies