New Democrats offer support for innovative proposal for housing affordability

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VANCOUVER— An innovative proposal by two UBC Sauder School of Business professors could collect badly needed data about our housing market and provide funding to deal with the worsening affordability crisis in the Lower Mainland, say New Democrats.

“This bold housing plan is exactly the type of fresh thinking that Christy Clark needs to consider,” said B.C. New Democrat leader John Horgan. “It provides a way for the government to collect data and generate money for affordable housing by taxing speculators and profiteers in our real estate market while remaining invisible to British Columbians filing income tax, seniors living in long-time family homes, and landlords.”

The B.C. Housing Affordability Fund was developed by Dr. Tom Davidoff and Dr. Tsur Somerville, professors of economics at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business. It proposes levying a 1.5 per cent tax on property in the lower mainland, deducted dollar for dollar from income tax paid, making it invisible to tax paying British Columbian residents.

“I hear on a daily basis how hard it is for people in the Lower Mainland and across the province to find affordable housing, even something as simple as a new family trying to find a two bedroom apartment to rent,” said David Eby, New Democrat spokesperson for housing.

“People are frustrated because they see their lives getting less and less affordable, while the government seems unwilling to collect data about what’s happening, let alone find ways to fund desperately needed affordable housing. This policy could fund rental housing construction without hurting families that are already overstretched and in debt. It’s really exciting.”