We have certainly heard from Kelowna and West Kelowna’s councils about where they stand on the speculation tax. It is not any different from the multitude of articles in the local media representing the interests of the real estate and development industry, and their present and future out-of-province investors.
According to Liberal MLAs, both city councils, and pretty much all online local news media, development aimed at foreigner investors are propelling our economy, even if it means that those part time property investors are only here for a small fraction of the year – contributing less to the local economy than any full time resident would. Those who work and spend here cannot find a vacant home or afford to enter the housing market. Kelowna was just last week declared the fourth least affordable housing market in Canada.
The discussion has not considered the positive impact that present and future local residents, families, workers, creators and investors can bring to our economy – if only they could afford to live here. We support the speculation tax. It’s a strong tool to cool down the soaring housing market, and we would also like to see more measures in this direction such as a flipping tax, and policy to create more long-term rentals. Moreover, we feel that city council should use the powers they have to incentivize more development for rental and entry-level housing. But honestly, purely increasing new housing stock without curbing the endless supply of foreign capital, or raising interest rates will only overheat the market further.
All right enough from us. We’d like to invite all Kelowna residents to send us your thoughts, rants, think pieces, words, songs, poems, paintings… and we will publish them in our new Voices section.