While much discussion has been revolving around the purported effect of foreign buyers on Canadian’s home prices, observers argued that another topic that merits increased federal attention is the proliferation of illicit financial activity in the country’s residential real estate segment.
In a downtown Vancouver housing rally on September 17, Certified Financial Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Specialist Christine Duhaime stated that the national government must thoroughly explore the issue of money laundering in the local market, GlobalNews.ca
“I would like to suggest the federal government convene an inquiry into whether or not there is a financial crime problem in the real estate sector of Vancouver and what can be done to resolve it,” Duhaime said.
UBC professor Paul Kershaw agreed, noting that the current situation represents a perfect opportunity for the government to resolve the city’s housing problems once and for all.
“The anger and frustration is coming together in constructive ways to entice all political parties left, right and centre to say homes first has to be the principle around which they organize their platform heading into the next provincial election,” Kershaw said, adding that increases in wages and housing stock are options worth considering.
The comments came in the wake of intensified efforts by federal and provincial authorities to devise effective strategies in rooting out money laundering and tax evasion in the Vancouver housing segment.
In a press conference last week, NDP MLA David Eby slammed financial institutions that approve loans by foreign home buyers even without rigorous income verification.
“The question [that] should be asked is: did banks issues mortgages to people who have no apparent source of income?” Eby stated. “It's absolutely outrageous that a Canadian that's working, living and paying taxes in B.C has to provide even more information and cross even more hurdles than someone who is not a B.C. resident.”
“If you're not working in B.C., not living here, you should have to provide additional documentation to show your source of income and that your money is coming from a proper source.”
Calls for federal intervention on housing situation intensify
Fintrac found 'significant' deficiencies at nearly 500 real estate firms