Premier Christy Clark is pledging to finance 3,000 new housing units through a new $500 million commitment to housing initiatives.
No details have been provided yet, but Housing Minister Rich Coleman said the goal is to have new projects approved by March.
“We’ve got a large surplus this year so we are able to afford to do this,” Clark said.
The B.C. government on Aug. 1 began charging foreign buyers of Metro Vancouver real estate a 15 per cent property transfer tax, which is currently forecast to generate $165 million in new revenue that will partly go to new housing.
Last week, Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s quarterly financial update revealed the province now has a nearly $2-billion surplus.
Property transfer tax revenue has surged with what has been a white-hot housing market, at least up until the new tax kicked in.
PTT revenue is now forecast at $2.1 billion for 2016, an increase of $965 million from what had been budgeted.
Besides setting money aside for housing, the province has scrapped a planned medical premium increase and it has put $400 million into a B.C. Prosperity Fund.