So, no, it doesn't look like prices are going to drop significantly any time soon but this week's new provincial budget did offer some good news for aspiring home owners. Qualifying first time home buyers in B.C. can now purchase properties of up to $500,000 in value without paying property transfer tax. For purchases of up to $525,000, a partial exemption applies.
The increase (up from $475,000) was announced with the new provincial budget and is one of several recent changes designed to tackle the region’s ever-increasing housing costs. The hope is that through initiatives like this and the BC HOME Partnership, home-ownership will become a more realistic goal for many who have been priced out of the market. .
To qualify for a property tax exemption as a First Time Buyer, you must be:
a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (*if you become one within 12 months of registering the property you can apply for a transfer tax refund. This refund does not apply to any additional transfer tax paid by foreign nationals.)
have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
have never received a first time home buyers' exemption or refund
Additionally, the property must:
be located in B.C.
only be used as your principal residence
have a fair market value of: $475,000 or less if registered on or before February 21, 2017, or $500,000 or less if registered on or after February 22, 2017
be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller
If you move into your home after 92 days of the date the property was registered, you will lose your exemption. You will also need to repay a portion of the tax if you move out without having lived in the property for one year (excepting property transfer due to death or family separation).
If you have question about how the First Time Home Buyer’s Program could benefit you, feel free to get in touch.
You can also read more about the program here.