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Three percent of residential property sales in Metro Vancouver during October involved a foreign buyer, updated figures released by the BC government suggest.

The share of foreign buyers active in the Metro Vancouver market that month matches the province-wide average, and is slightly higher than the 2.5 percent active in Vancouver proper that month.

October’s rate of foreign-homebuying activity was up from September, when 1.8 percent of transactions involved a non-resident purchaser.

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However, that’s far from the levels observed more than two years ago, before the BC government slapped a 15-percent levy on non-residents purchasing residential real estate in Metro Vancouver.

Prior to policymakers introducing the tax in August 2016 — in a bid to curb skyrocketing home prices — the rate of foreign-homebuying activity was 13.2 percent, government data suggests.

Rates of foreign investment in Metro Vancouver varied from municipality to municipality in October. October in Surrey it was 1 percent, whereas in Burnaby it was 5.9 percent and in Richmond it was 6.7 percent.

Throughout Metro Vancouver in October, foreign buyers had a hand in 140 residential property transfers worth a total of $115 million.

“There is a period of distortion in the market any time a tax is introduced or changed,” notes the government in a news release.

“Many transactions that would have occurred in the months following the introduction of the tax were moved to July [2016] to avoid the tax.”

This February, the province expanded the tax to surrounding areas including the Central Okanagan Region, Fraser Valley, Greater Victoria, and Nanaimo. Policymakers also lifted the levy to 20 percent.

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