British Columbians support speculation tax by nearly three-to-one margin, new poll shows

Spencer Chandra Herbert

new poll on Tuesday by Research Co shows that 68% of British Columbians support the BC NDP government’s speculation and vacancy tax. Just 24% of people disagree with it.

The poll shows broad support for the speculation and vacancy tax by British Columbians regardless of age, gender, geographic region, and voting intention. Even BC Liberal voters support the measure by a significant margin, with 55% in favour and 39% opposed.

The vast majority of British Columbians also support the new progressive component of the school tax on homes worth over $3 million, with 66% in favour and 24% opposed. Again, BC Liberal voters support the measure, with 52% in favour and 39% opposed.

The NDP notes that BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has promised to cancel both measures, despite growing evidence they are beginning to work as intended to cool BC’s overheated housing market and make more rental units available for people.

Although prices are showing a correction after skyrocketing for years, more new housing starts are projected over the next three years than predicted by the BC Liberals in 2017, before the measures were introduced.

The NDP says that in Budget 2017, the BC Liberals predicted a steep decline in housing starts from 41,843 in 2016 to an average of 27,000 in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Budget 2019 predicts a far less severe reduction, projecting an average of 32,000 starts in those same years – above historic levels.

In fact, in the five year period between 2017 and 2021, BC is projected to build 42,446 more homes than the BC Liberals predicted before the speculation tax was introduced.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total 2017-21
2019 NDP Budget 41,843 43,664 40,857 34,015 31,846 30,517 180,899
2017 Liberal Budget 41,843 29,997 27,512 26,969 26,985 26,990 138,453
Difference 13,667 13,345 7,046 4,861 3,527 42,446

Sources: Budget 2017 fiscal plan page 93 and Budget 2019 fiscal plan page 85.

NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert said on Tuesday: “As we finally see signs of relief for the people struggling with out of control housing prices, Andrew Wilkinson is working harder than ever to undo our progress. Skyrocketing housing prices might be good for Andrew Wilkinson’s friends in the top 2%, but most British Columbians support the action we’re taking. Meanwhile, BC’s strong economy is expected to build more homes than the BC Liberals predicted before the speculation tax was introduced. Andrew Wilkinson’s plan to cancel these measures would hand hundreds of millions in giveaways to the top 2% and speculators while causing housing costs to skyrocket out of reach for people.”