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Most British Columbians in favour of province's new housing policies

Kelowna is seen in this undated photo taken from Knox Mountain.
Kelowna is seen in this undated photo taken from Knox Mountain.
Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

A new survey says a majority of British Columbians are in favour of the province's new housing guidelines.

"In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 69% of British Columbians agree with raising the fines for short-term rental hosts who break local municipal by-laws to $3,000 per day per infraction," according to results of a Research Co. public opinion poll published, Feb. 28.

Fifty-eight per cent of those surveyed are in favour of banning homeowners from operating short-term rental businesses if it's not on their primary residence.

Two-thirds are also in favour of the NDP government's decision to cap rent increases at 3.5% for 2024.

In areas where homelessness is prevalent, 75% support the building of modular supportive homes, 69% agree with implementing a three-business-day protection period for financing and home inspections, 60% are in favour of ending most strata age restrictions and 52% of removing strata rental restrictions.

When it comes to policies concerning foreign buyers, most believe their taxes should be increased.

Increasing the foreign buyer tax from 15 to 20% is supported by 74% of respondents, 71% agree with expanding the foreign buyer tax to areas outside of Metro Vancouver, and 69% are in favour of introducing a speculation tax in specific areas which target foreign and domestic homeowners who pay little to no income tax in BC along with those who own more than one property which aren't long-term rentals.

More than 60% support the government's decision to increase the property transfer tax from 3% to 5% for homes valued at more than $3 million and the introduction of a 0.2% tax on the value of homes between $3 and $4 million, and a tax of 0.4% on the portion of a home's value that exceeds $4 million.

Overall, 41% said the new housing guidelines put in place by the government will be effective in making housing more affordable in the province while 47% said they won't be.

When it comes to trusting the government to deliver affordable housing in BC, 46% "completely" or "moderately" trust the BC NDP and 42% trust their municipal governments. These rates get lower with other parties: 35% would trust the BC Greens, 32% the BC Conservatives and 29% BC United.

On the federal level, the NDP is the most trusted party at 40% and the Liberal and Conservative parties are both trusted by 35% of respondents.

The federal government's ban on non-Canadians to purchase residential property in Canada until 2027 is supported by 70% of BC residents. Nearly two-thirds also wish to see the federal government tie immigration numbers to affordable housing targets and new housing starts.

“More than seven-in-ten British Columbians aged 55 and over (73%) want the federal and provincial governments to work together to ensure local residents and immigrants have a place to live in,” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co, said in the release. “Majorities of their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (59%) and aged 18-to-34 (65%) share the same view.”

When it comes to dismantling tent cities, 62% are in favour of municipal governments doing so, with support the highest in the Fraser Valley (66%), Vancouver Island (62%), Metro Vancouver (59%), Northern BC (57%) and Southern BC (51%).

As for the province's decision to implement a $400 renters' rebate to households earning up to $80,000 a year, 49% are in favour and 65% of renters are in favour.

In contrast, only 20% of homeowners would agree with the cancellation of the homeowner grant which reduces the amount of property tax individuals pay for their primary residence.

This study was conducted online from Feb. 8 to 10 among 800 adult British Columbians. The data was then statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures to obtain age, gender, and region-specific data.

To view more results from the poll, visit the Research Co. website here.

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