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Jun 02, 2023

Budget 2024 Consultation

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By Mark Sakai,
Advocacy Project Manager

On May 30, 2023, BCREA made an in-person submission to the provincial Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, as part of the consultations for the 2024 Provincial Budget.

During the session, the Committee received a multitude of important housing policy recommendations from stakeholders, including Landlord BC, BCREA, and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Each presenter is permitted to make a maximum of three recommendations, and BCREA’s first recommendation was to adequately fund the BC Builds program to effectively bring together public lands, low-cost financing, and faster provincial and local government approvals, and to create innovative tools to help more middle-income households find a home that fits their needs.  However, these policies must work “on the ground” in an efficient manner, and without unintended negative consequences, in order to produce the new units so desperately needed in BC. Therefore, part of the increased funding for BC Builds should include the establishment of a permanent provincial housing roundtable.

BCREA, along with ten other diverse housing stakeholders, have been calling for the establishment of a housing roundtable, to allow government access to housing policy expertise from across the province, and from the full spectrum of the housing sector, with the objective of producing strong, evidence-based policy. Unfortunately, we have long observed many negative, unintended consequences from policies the government hastily implemented without adequate consultation, such as those seen in the Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act. The establishment of this pool of housing policy expertise that the government can harness when creating policy is necessary for identifying and reducing these negative, unintended consequences of policies before they are implemented.

Our second recommendation was to increase infrastructure investments for local governments to support the missing middle zoning initiative. Increasing the population of low-density neighbourhoods, even gradually, can put a strain on infrastructure, be it “pipes in the ground,” or community amenities such as parks, recreational centres or bike lanes. By making it easier for local governments to accommodate new multiplex housing, more housing options can be created for more people, in more places. The crafting of strong, effective legislation and regulations to encourage Missing Middle Housing should be the first task of a new housing roundtable.

Finally, we recommended that any “flipping tax” does not result in unintended negative consequences that actually inhibit the development of new housing supply. For example, if an older house in poor condition is purchased, and renovated into a fourplex, then those three additional units should not be subject to a flipping tax.  Similarly, renovations that result in a significant improvement in energy efficiency and/or reduction in carbon emissions should also be exempt from the tax.

BCREA appreciated the opportunity to present our recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, and we will continue to advocate for these policy initiatives that will help make housing more attainable for more British Columbians.

To view the full BCREA’s 2024 Budget Consultation written submission, click here.

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Author profile photo
By Mark Sakai,
Advocacy Project Manager