Perceived corruption is driving mistrust in the Vancouver market

Amid widespread accusations of corruption, a significant proportion of Vancouver’s locals are not inclined to have faith in the housing market any time soon.

According to new research by Transparency International Canada, nearly 2 out of 5 (37%) of Metro Vancouverites described the real estate market as “extremely corrupt”. For perspective, only 15% of Western Canadians outside Vancouver view the industry with such suspicion

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The most pressing issue driving the perception of mistrust is the proliferation of unscrupulous foreigners and criminal organizations using the city’s homes as conduits of illicit funds.

Lax regulations, along with what has been described by observers as a servile accommodation of foreign investors (especially Chinese) at the expense of domestic buyers, have been a consistent sore point among market players.

“Within Vancouver [specifically] you just have a particular relationship of criminal elements working that have found the luxury market [and] who have found market overseas to bring that money in,” Transparency International Canada executive director James Cohen told CBC.

Read more: B.C. gov’t has yet to make good on affordability commitments

B.C. Attorney General David Eby acknowledged the gravity of the problem in a keynote speech late last week.

“Money laundering has been ignored for too long and it is hurting our communities,” Eby admitted. “Our government is fighting money laundering on several fronts, including casinos and real estate, and its ties to organized crime, gang activity and violence.”

Cohen noted that the provincial government’s latest measures intended to address the issue, including stiffer penalties and stronger enforcement of existing laws, are steps in the right direction.

“We would never say that there’s a silver bullet solution to solving this. It takes a number of steps.”

 

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