B.C. Provides Deadline For Exemption From Speculation Tax


The housing market in British Columbia has, for years, been a topic of discussion among policymakers, economists, and residents. In response to the rising housing prices and the challenge of housing affordability, the provincial government introduced a new tax mechanism aimed at addressing the issue of vacant properties. This article elaborates on this tax, who it affects, its rates, and its broader implications for homeowners in the region.

The Primary Objective: Addressing the Overheated Housing Market

The heart of the matter is housing affordability. British Columbia, particularly regions like the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, Kelowna, and Nanaimo, has witnessed escalating property prices. One factor contributing to this surge has been properties purchased primarily as investments, remaining vacant and not being introduced into the rental market.

The vacancy tax, thus, serves a dual purpose: it discourages the practice of keeping properties vacant, and it encourages turning these properties into rentals, thereby increasing the availability of housing options for residents.

Who is Exempt?

A critical point to note is that the tax isn’t universally applicable. Homeowners residing in their properties are exempt. The Ministry of Finance underscores that this exemption will apply to a vast majority – over 99% – of British Columbians. However, to be officially recognized as exempt, homeowners must complete an exemption form by 31 March.

Notices for Homeowners

In the coming weeks, homeowners in specific regions, namely the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, Kelowna, and Nanaimo, should expect notices regarding the tax. These notices are a step towards ensuring that everyone is aware of the tax, its implications, and the necessary steps they must take, either to pay the tax or claim an exemption.

Tax Rates Explained

For 2018, the tax rate for properties falling under the purview of this regulation is set at 0.5% of the property’s assessed value. However, starting from 2019, there is a differentiation in the tax rate based on the ownership:

It’s worth understanding what constitutes a ‘satellite family.’ These are families where the majority of their combined income is earned outside Canada. This differentiation aims to address concerns about foreign speculation driving up property prices.


The introduction of the vacancy tax showcases the proactive measures the government is taking to ensure housing affordability for British Columbians. While it may seem like an additional layer of bureaucracy for property owners, its overarching goal is to foster a balanced and accessible housing market for all residents of the province.

Need More Clarity? Contact the Coastal Key Team

Taxation, especially when linked to property and residency, can be complex. However, the Langley Mortgage Brokers of the Coastal Key Team are here to provide guidance and clarification. Whether you have questions about the vacancy tax, its exemptions, or any other property-related queries, our team is well-equipped to assist.

Reach out to us directly at 604-588-4466. If you’re more comfortable with written communication, you can also send your queries to info@coastalkey.ca. With a deep understanding of the local housing market and its associated regulations, we aim to offer clear, concise, and timely advice tailored to your needs.