British Columbians Welcome Budget Proposals on Real Estate

More than four-in-five residents think the new “speculation tax” and the expansion and increase of the foreign buyers tax are good ideas.

Vancouver, BC – British Columbians reacted positively to the inclusion of specific policies to deal with housing in the provincial budget, a new Insights West poll conducted in partnership with CTV Vancouver has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 53% of British Columbians say they followed the most recent provincial budget “very closely” or “somewhat closely.”

The provincial budget’s proposals that focus on housing are particularly popular across the province. More than four-in-five British Columbians believe that three specific items are “very good” or “good” ideas: increasing the foreign buyers tax from 15% to 20% (82%), introducing a “speculation tax” of 2% of a property’s assessed value for vacant homes whose homeowners pay no income tax in BC (81%) and expanding the foreign buyers tax to areas located outside of Metro Vancouver (also 81%).

More than three-in-four residents (77%) think increasing the property transfer tax from 3% to 5% for homes valued at more than $3 million is a “very good” or “good idea”—a proportion that includes 76% of British Columbians who own their primary residence and 72% of those who voted for the BC Liberals in the last provincial election.

“In January, Insights West reported that concerns about housing, homelessness and poverty had jumped to the highest level recorded in the province over the past five years,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The budget proposals that deal with real estate are supported by a large majority of residents, and especially among those aged 35-to-54.”

Large majorities of residents also have positive views on two other budget items: restoring the Monday to Thursday fare discount rate for seniors on BC Ferries (77%) and increasing the tax on passenger vehicles valued between $125,000 and $149,000 from 10% to 15% (also 77%).

At least three-in-five British Columbians approve of the plan to create a new child care benefit worth $1,250 per month, per child (63%, including 87% of those who have a child aged 0 to 6 in their household) and eliminating the Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums by 2020 and creating a new payroll tax for employers (61%).

Support for supplanting MSP premiums with a new payroll tax is highest among British Columbians who voted for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) in last year’s provincial ballot (77%), and lower among those who supported the BC Green Party (59%) and the BC Liberals (50%).

About half of British Columbians (48%) give the most recent provincial budget a moderate rating (from 5 to 7), while 17% provide high grades (from 8 to 10), and 14% issue a poor rating (from 1 to 4).

Half of British Columbians (49%) expect the provincial budget to be positive for the province, and two-in-five (40%) believe it will be positive for their municipality.

When asked about the impact of the budget on their own household, residents are split, with 38% saying it will be positive and 35% expecting it to be negative.

British Columbians aged 18-to-34 are more likely to believe the budget will be positive for their household (44%) than those aged 35-to-54 (39%) and those aged 55 and over (33%).

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

Most of our surveys are conducted through our Your Insights panel. The Your Insights panel is comprised of 30,000 Canadians who share their opinions on a variety of political, economic, social and other issues while earning the opportunity to get paid and win great prizes. If you’re interested in joining, please register at

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from February 26 to February 28, 2018, among 801 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Colin Knowles / CC BY