Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Prepares to Tackle Housing Costs, Look into Improper Real Estate Conduct

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Prepares to Tackle Housing Costs, Look into Improper Real Estate Conduct

Article excerpt

Housing major focus of B.C. throne speech

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VICTORIA - Premier Christy Clark says her government is concerned about high house prices in British Columbia and she's promising better opportunities for buyers to get into the market.

Clark said Tuesday there is no single solution to soaring prices in some cities and it will take the combined efforts of the provincial and municipal governments to cool down the market.

Housing was highlighted as a key government focus in a throne speech that outlined the political agenda for the coming months in the legislature.

"What we've expressed is a real concern about housing affordability," Clark said at a news conference after the speech.

"There are some things we can do and there are some things cities need to do, but we're going to have to do it as partners."

The new session of the legislature begins amid questions about the conduct of some real estate agents in Metro Vancouver taking advantage of the area's hot market by allegedly reselling houses multiple times to increase final prices and their commissions.

"Your government will look into allegations of improper behaviour in the housing market, and where appropriate, government will take action," said the speech, read in the house by Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon.

Clark said the government is prepared to act quickly to address the house flipping issue if rules are being broken.

She also committed the government to introducing measures that encourage an increase in the supply of housing and to work with municipalities to reduce local charges that are largely hidden but add to the costs of homes.

"The province can't do this alone," said Clark. "Local governments are just as concerned about this as I am, so I'm hopeful they'll address their end of it."

She suggested the government is prepared to offer municipal governments incentives to increase the supply of homes, but did not elaborate. Clark said municipalities control zoning and permitting issues.

The government stressed in the throne speech it will "protect the savings and equity that existing homeowners have painstakingly placed in their homes. …

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