Should we tax foreign real estate buyers?

Should we tax foreign real estate buyers? Benjamin Tal’s writing on this issue comes to a number of unsubstantiated conclusions. One of them is that the main motivation foreign investors in Canadian real estate is not the flipping of the property, but merely to look for a safe haven for their money. Unfortunately, this has little to do with the issue.

Their motivation is one part of the equation. Vacant real estate in markets that are short of supply exacerbates the problem for locals. The prices are driven up by buyers who seem to have virtually unlimited resources. In addition, what should government policy be? To support Canadians in buying homes or foreigners?

In my opinion, writers and “talking heads” such as Mr. Tal have the wrong end of the hockey stick. Canada is a country first and foremost for Canadians. If governments do not protect Canadians what purpose does government serve?

A recent class action lawsuit in BC is a prime example of this. They are taking the position that the rights of foreigners need to be protected. What about the rights of Canadians? Middle-class Canadians are being crowded out of their own housing markets by double standards on mortgage underwriting and competing with foreigners who have more financial resources available to them than the majority of middle-class Canadians. I would love to hear the “talking heads” speak up for Canadians rather than always looking at the so called damage being done to foreigners.