Foreign nationals who buy real estate in Metro Vancouver would pay an additional property transfer tax of 15 percent under legislation being proposed by the British Columbia government.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Monday the tax is aimed at addressing high real estate prices and low vacancy rates.

The government says the additional tax would apply to foreign buyers registering the purchase of residential homes in Metro Vancouver. De Jong says the additional tax on a $2-million home (US$1.5 million) would amount to $300,000 Canadian (US $227,000)

Housing data indicates foreign nationals spent more than $1 billion on British Columbia property between June 10 and July 14.

De Jong previously said a tax would send the wrong message to Asia-Pacific investors.