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Quarterly report shows hot real estate market lifts B.C. budget into billions

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

British Columbia's sizzling real estate market helped to lift the provincial budget surplus to a expected $1.9 billion, more than $1.6 billion over the original estimate in February.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong has released the figures in his quarterly report and says revenues for 2016-2017 are forecast to improve by $2.5 billion.

Government figures show the property transfer tax from real estate transactions and higher corporate income tax revenues helped boost the forecast surplus.

The B.C. government has been under fire much of the past year to take measures to address Vancouver's hot real estate market, prompting the Liberals to introduce a 15-per-cent foreign buyers tax in July.

De Jong says the government will announce measures next week to benefit housing affordability with $500 million from the property tax windfall.

The minister says higher revenues will also allow the government to cancel a planned four per cent medical services premium increase originally scheduled for next year.

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