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Letters: ‘No foreign ownership of housing stock’

Reform of housing market should start with the homeowners themselves.
House for sale along 245th Street in Maple Ridge.
Metro Vancouver is now in the 26th month of a booming market.

Editor, The News:

It is abundantly clear that owners in the insane West Coast housing market have allowed their precious and finite housing stock to fall prey to the dual forces of naiveté and Greed since our world debut in 1986. At that point, our relatively inexpensive housing stock was noticed by overseas investors.

What I propose is that it start with homeowners themselves. Cease to accept stratagems from agents that frame your home sale as a bidding war.

Settle on an asking price that you want and stick to it.  If that first offer meets your price, take it. Write into your agreement, and have it understood, that you will not accept an offshore buyer as purchaser of your property as an investment, or an individual or company that is purchasing it on behalf of an investor. You have the right to reject, or accept a potential owner. If potential buyers will not declare their intentions and origins for this purpose, decline their offer.  You want a family, couple or single Canadian citizen who plans to live in your home full-time and contribute to the local economy, vibrancy and safety of your community.

It’s past time to act. No foreign ownership of residential house stock.

Current foreign owners who do not live here full-time should be taxed yearly at 30-50 per cent of the total market value of their properties.

Municipalities with foreign owned properties that are falling into disrepair in general appearance or in construction should levy fines from $100,000 to $300,000 per offence and tack it onto taxes if unpaid and un-remediated.

Look around. Australia and other countries that are encountering this wave of hysteria over-sheltering of overseas money in residential markets are clamping down in meaningful ways.

The horse might be out of the barn here, but a good rancher can still get it back in the coral.

Darlene Mercer

Pitt Meadows