West Shore communities are leading the way when it comes to new housing stock in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media File)

West Shore communities are leading the way when it comes to new housing stock in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media File)

West Shore communities lead Greater Victoria in new housing stock

New figures show the speculation tax is having little effect on non-resident ownership

New housing figures raise questions about the provincial speculation tax and confirm the fast-growing nature of the West Shore.

Figures from Statistics Canada show that the share of residential properties owned by non-residents in British Columbia remained stable at 3.2 per cent from 2018 to 2019.

The provincial government started charging the provincial speculation and vacancy tax in the fall of 2018 in selected parts of the province including Greater Victoria to cool an overheated real estate sector by way of taxing non-residents who own properties in the province. Such homeowners can avoid the tax by renting out their properties.

The controversial tax has drawn legal challenges not to mention criticism from locals. But if the tax aims to discourage outsiders from owning second homes in British Columbia, it appears to have failed, at least based on the available evidence, with the provision that the available data is of a small sample size, namely a year.

RELATED: Langford, Colwood, Sidney lead region in housing starts

Statistics Canada also shows that the provincial housing stock is growing faster in urban areas than rural areas, with the proviso that housing growth in CMAs (Census Metropolitan Areas) takes place at their respective edges rather than in their geographic centres.

Consider Victoria’s CMA. Growth in Census Subdivisions of Langford (up four per cent), Colwood (up 3.2 per cent) and Sooke (up 2.7 per cent) has outpaced growth in the Victoria Census Subdivision (up 1.3 per cent). These figures broadly match demographic figures that show the geographic centres of CMAs losing population to outer districts or even other regions entirely.

This trend has become especially notable in Vancouver’s CMA as the suburbs ringing the City of Vancouver, as well as the Fraser Valley and beyond, have recorded steady population gains in the face of high housing prices in the core. This said, CMAs including Vancouver continue to draw international migrants as well as younger individuals coming to CMAs for post-secondary education from other, less urban parts of the province.

Victoria CMA appears to experience a comparable phenomenon, with the areas outside the core communities of Victoria and Saanich but especially the West Shore absorbing regional population growth, as measured by additional housing.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Caroline Sousa, Bela Spick and her son Mateo marched along Prospect Lake Road in November 2019 to bring attention to the unsafe conditions on the road. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich reduces Prospect Lake Road speed limit to 30 km/h

New speed limit in effect as of Dec. 1 from Goward Road to Estelline Road

Royal Bay Secondary’s leadership class, comprised of Grade 9 through 12 students, is part of the student team organizing this year’s 10,000 Tonight event that shifts entirely online for 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
West Shore student food drive shifts entirely online

Drive-thru option removed from 10,000 Tonight in light of COVID-19 restrictions

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for Colwood man last seen in September

Geoffrey Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

BC Transit confirmed on Dec. 1 that a Langford employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy of BC Transit)
Langford transit worker tests positive for COVID-19

Island Health is conducting contact tracing for the case

The BCCDC has added Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 to its flight exposure list. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
New COVID-19 exposure on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Rows four to 10 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 were exposed

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read