Housing Affordability

BCREA’s Position on Housing Affordability

The residential real estate market is a continuum, with social housing on one end and luxury housing on the other. Rental housing and market housing affordability are important components that help keep the continuum operating smoothly, ensuring appropriate housing options for all and matching supply with demand.

BCREA recommends that governments:
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    1. Ensure the Property Transfer Tax accurately reflects the dynamic nature of the real estate market

    2. Provide direct assistance to homebuyers, homeowners and renters (recommendations for the federal government)

    3. Make evidence-based policy decisions

    4. Encourage greater density in urban areas

    5. Promote best practices among local governments

    Government action

    • On March 15, 2017, the provincial government implemented an exemption from the additional 15% Property Transfer Tax for foreign buyers who are registered in the Provincial Nominee Program and purchase a primary residence in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The exemption begins March 17, 2017, and nominees who purchased a principal residence on or after August 2, 2016 can apply for retroactive exemption. News release.
    • On February 21, 2017, in the 2017 Budget, Minister de Jong announced that the Property Transfer Tax exemption threshold for first-time buyers had been increased to $500,000 from $475,000. News release.
    • On January 10, 2017, Minister de Jong announced an increase to the Home Owner Grant threshold to $1.6 million from $1.2 million. News release.
    • On December 15, 2016, the BC Government announced the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program, which provides interest-free loans to qualifying first-time homebuyers. News release.
    • After several months of collecting citizenship data through the PTT form, on November 29, 2016, Minister de Jong announced the government would release detailed statistical information about property transactions on a monthly basis through DataBC.
    • On September 19, 2016, the BC Government announced that it would create 2,900 affordable rental units across BC. This investment of $500 million is possible due the new Housing Priority Initiatives program, which is largely funded from the 15 per cent foreign buyers' tax. News release.
    • On August 2, 2016, a new, additional Property Transfer Tax took effect. The tax of 15% applies to purchases of residential real estate in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (except for Tsawwassen First Nations lands) by foreign nationals or foreign corporations. No exemptions were available for these buyers.
    • With the 2016 BC Budget, and effective February 17, 2016, two changes were made to the Property Transfer Tax:
      • Newly-constructed homes used as principal residences, up to $750,000, are exempt from the PTT. A partial exemption is available for new homes up to $800,000. This is for all buyers, not just first-time buyers. More information.
      • The PTT rate is increased to 3% on the portion of a property’s fair market value above $2 million. Rates of 1% on the first $200,000 of a property’s fair market value and 2% on the fair market value between $200,000 and $2 million will continue to apply. More information.

    Resources

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