In the summer of 2016, the BC government began collecting data on foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver and found they accounted for 13.2% of home purchases in the short time period between June 10th to August 1st.
Now it’s been a whole year since then Premier Christy Clark introduced an extra 15% property transfer tax for foreign buyers of real estate in Metro Vancouver.
But what has the foreign buyers’ tax done to real estate here in the Okanagan?
Long story short, not much. But that's not to say the Lower Mainland isn't having a strong influence on real estate in Kelowna.
"The foreign buyer tax, in and of itself has really had minimal affect on the Okanagan and Kelowna market," said Regional Executive Vice President of RE/MAX Elton Ash. "There is that domino effect however, where the tax is not bringing foreign buyers to the Okanagan, but indirectly influencing buyers from the Lower Mainland to move to the Okanagan."
According to Ash, the Okanagan is currently experiencing a strong seller's market, which is a result of home owners in the Lower Mainland selling high and buying in the Okanagan.
"The market in the Lower Mainland initially dipped but has fully recovered a year later to the point where the market is actually slightly above where it was this time last year," said Ash. "So buyers from the Lower Mainland have continued to drive the Kelowna market, but the influx is not really a direct derivative of that foreign buyer tax."
Along with buyers from the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan market has also seen a large influx of American buyers with the currency exchange being so strong over the past year.
This influx of Lower Mainland and American buyers is largely whats fueling the Okanagan's lack of housing inventory and rising prices.