BC’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax is being expanded to include North Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, and Lake Cowichan.
The tax is being extended into the Cowichan Valley to help ensure empty homes become available for people who work and live in the area.
Finance Minister Selina Robinson says that after careful consideration and input from people and community leaders, the government is expanding the tax to additional areas that are facing intense housing pressures.
The tax is designed to help eliminate speculative real estate practices and increase the number of available rental units in those communities.
The finance ministry says an independent review report of the speculation tax shows it is working by helping to keep housing prices and rents lower than they would have been without the tax.
The ministry says the Speculation and Vacancy Tax has also encouraged the return of approximately 20,000 condo units to the long-term rental market in Metro Vancouver.
The province says that by expanding it into communities facing acute housing shortages that are also located near urban areas covered by the tax, it should reduce the risk of speculators taking advantage of these exempt communities.
Robinson says after the tax was implemented in 2018 to target speculation, it has turned thousands of empty units into homes for people.
These changes will come into effect in January 2023.
Residential property owners in communities where the tax is being expanded will declare and claim an exemption for the first time in January 2024.
Exemptions are available for primary residences, properties with a long-term tenant, and a number of other special circumstances.