The recently published reports on the impact of money laundering on the British Columbia real estate market has been welcomed by the Urban Development Institute.
The report by deputy attorney general Maureen Maloney revealed that $7.4 billion was laundering through the province in 2018, $5b of which went through real estate.
The report estimates that this criminal activity adds 5% to the cost of a home in BC.
“Our housing market should be used for housing people, not for laundering the proceeds of crime,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “The amount of money being laundered in B.C. and through real estate is much more than anyone predicted. Our government is tackling the housing crisis head-on and taking action to combat the money laundering that has been allowed to drive up housing costs for British Columbians for far too long.”
In response to the report, the UDI says it is pleased that some of its recommendations have been included.
“Our industry fully supported these government and law enforcement review efforts to ensure that taxes are paid appropriately and that any potential illegal activity is thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said UDI president and CEO Anne McMullin.
She added that if more regulation is required to tackle the issue then the Institute trusts that the government will pursue the criminal activity.
However, she stressed that tackling money laundering will not solve one of the province’s big housing issues.
“We fully agree with the report author Maureen Maloney’s conclusion that “the housing affordability problem cannot be solved by reducing money laundering but reducing money laundering can certainly help”,” she said