This week’s blog was going to be about the 15% Foreign Investment Tax in Vancouver and how that may, or may not, affect the Whistler real estate market.   As there is a new President Elect in the US, it is still going to be about non-resident investment but the focus is now going to be on US investors.   At 10am the morning after the election, I was asked how Donald Trump might affect the real estate market in Whistler.   I wasn’t sure if the question was posed because there was concern that the election results might have a negative impact on the market, or possibly a positive one - particularly in light of the fact that the Canadian Immigration Website had crashed the night before because of the volume of hits!   It turned out that the prospective buyer thought that Whistler would benefit from the recent turn of events.

The volume of US buyers in Whistler has increased over the last few years and I believe, will continue to do so.  However, this has very little to do with who is President - much more to do with the US/Canadian dollar exchange rate.   It also has very little to do with the 15% Foreign Investment Tax in Vancouver and that buyers might look north to Whistler instead.   Our US buyers have always been keen skiers/boarders who are looking for an investment in a world class resort where they can enjoy the lifestyle and either see some rental return from their investment and/or capital appreciation. 

We have not yet seen many investors from Asia although the Foreign Investment Tax has definitely impacted the Vancouver market and the number of Asian investors buying in the Lower Mainland.   I met a young Asian realtor this last week who commented that he thought that the new tax was a ‘political tax’ and only introduced to show that the provincial government was being seen to be doing something.  He agreed that the number of sales in Vancouver had dropped recently but that prices were not going to drop significantly enough to make it affordable again for local buyers to purchase homes in the city.   He was also not aware that the Foreign Investment Tax was not applicable in Whistler.  It highlighted to me that we need to spread the word that you don’t have to pay an additional 15% tax if you are buying in Whistler and you are from the US or anywhere else in the world!