August 2010
Connections (August 2010)
Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association – August 2010 
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 Strata Property Act: Updates Required

For some time now, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) has been gathering input from real estate boards and REALTORS® regarding the recent Strata Property Amendment Act and other suggestions for improving the Strata Property Act and regulation.

While BCREA’s examination of this issue is not yet complete, the following themes have clearly emerged:

  • potential buyers of strata properties need more and better information,
  • strata corporations and property managers will benefit from clarifications regarding procedural matters and strengthened compliance measures, and
  • an alternative dispute resolution process for strata corporations is necessary.

As promised earlier this year, the provincial government is preparing for public consultations on regulatory changes to fully realize the provisions of the Strata Property Amendment Act, 2009. This is an excellent opportunity to help provide clarity for everyone impacted by the legislation.

Please contact BCREA Policy Analyst Norma Miller ([email protected]) to share the concerns and actions your organization has taken regarding the Strata Property Act.

 UBCM Convention: Housing Affordability

“Making Homeownership More Affordable in BC” is a pre-convention session during this year’s Union of BC Municipalities Convention. Hosted by Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Bill Bennett, this one-day session will examine the factors driving housing costs, plus approaches to help make housing more affordable within a typical family budget.

This interactive session is a rare chance to dialogue with provincial cabinet ministers and municipal representatives about market housing, and BCREA looks forward to attending.

For more information about the UBCM Convention, visit www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/convention.html.

 Indexing Helps Ensure Fairness

BCREA is preparing for the provincial government’s annual budget consultation, which typically begins in mid-September. This year, the Association’s submission will focus on shelter taxes, particularly the importance of indexing key thresholds. 

The structure of the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) is exactly the same today as it was when the tax was implemented in 1988; that is, buyers pay 1% PTT on the first $200,000 of the fair market value of a property and 2% on the balance. In 1988, the government expected the 2% portion of the PTT to apply to about 5% of homes sold. Because the thresholds weren’t indexed, the PTT now impacts significantly more homebuyers than originally intended: in 2009, the 2% portion applied to 88% of homes sold in BC.

To help prevent a similar situation with the Harmonized Sales Tax, BCREA recommends the provincial government index the provincial rebate threshold for new homes using the New Housing Price Index, and make adjustments annually.

For more information about provincial shelter taxes, including a study on tax competitiveness, a new home tax calculator and emails that can be sent directly to MLAs, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/shelter-taxes.

 Balance is Essential

A non-partisan approach, as well as a dedicated focus on public policy issues instead of politics, helps define BCREA’s government relations philosophy. That’s why dozens of REALTORS® and real estate board representatives attended the Premier’s Dinner, a significant BC Liberal Party fundraiser, in June, and why dozens more will join the New Democratic Party in September for a similar event with leader Carole James.

REALTORS® recognize and appreciate the significant commitment Members of the Legislative Assembly make to serve the people of British Columbia, and welcome the opportunity to thank them in person.

 Contact Us

What are your organization’s positions on the public policy issues addressed in this issue of Connections? Please contact us at [email protected] with your comments about these issues, or to update BCREA on your organization’s successes.

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British Columbia Real Estate Association
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PO Box 10123, Pacific Centre
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