Foreign nationals buying Vancouver real estate will pay an additional property transfer tax of 15 percent as part of an effort to address high real estate prices and low vacancy rates.

The tax which took effect Tuesday will apply to foreign buyers registering the purchase of residential homes in Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said last week he’s been calling on the province for over a year to take action.

Vancouver’s housing market has been the hottest in the country for the past few years.

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