October 2014
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Connections (October 2014)
Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association – October 2014 
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  Meaningful, Affordable Change to the Property Transfer Tax

Minister of Finance Mike de Jong has made it clear that there’s no room in the provincial budget for new spending. In fact, that’s been the message of his office for several years, and BCREA respects this fiscally-prudent approach.

But fiscal prudence isn’t just about saying no; sometimes, a strategic yes is in order.

BCREA consistently and regularly recommends that the provincial government minimize the negative impact of the Property Transfer Tax (PTT). The PTT places an unfair burden on homebuyers, and is by far the highest provincial property transfer tax in the country. While BCREA understands the government’s objective to balance the budget, adjusting the PTT could stimulate additional activity in the real estate market, encourage spending related to property transactions and would certainly demonstrate an understanding of the important role of real estate and property owners in the provincial economy.

Since it was introduced in 1987 as a luxury tax, the PTT has always been applied in the following way: 1% on the first $200,000 of the fair market value of a property, and 2% on the remainder. This static structure is entirely at odds with BC’s dynamic real estate market.

As an initial measure to improve the fairness of the PTT today and in the future, BCREA strongly recommends the provincial government index the 1% threshold of $200,000, and then make adjustments annually.

The impact on provincial revenue would be minor, and the goodwill from homebuyers and real estate sector stakeholders significant. This is a strategic yes.

More information about the budget consultation: https://www.leg.bc.ca/content-peo/Learning-Resources/Budget-Process-Fact-Sheet-English.pdf#search=budget%20consultation.

 Proposed Societies Act

There’s no doubt that the Society Act is out of date, and BCREA is pleased that the Ministry of Finance has proposed new legislation. The review began in 2009, and has involved a discussion paper from the government and considerable work by the BC Law Institute.

Although the proposed Societies Act isn’t perfect, it certainly makes improvements on the status quo. Societies come in all shapes and sizes, which means that widespread participation in the current consultation is absolutely critical.

The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2014. Details, as well as a link to the white paper, are available at www.fin.gov.bc.ca/pld/fcsp/society_act_discussion.htm.

 Support for Floodplain Maps

Read what the Real Estate Foundation of BC has to say in its September 23 blog post, “Steps Toward a National Floodplain Management Framework.”

 Contact BCREA

Contact BCREA at [email protected] with your comments about these issues, or to provide an update on your organization’s successes.

For more information about BCREA’s public policy positions, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca.

BCREA is the professional association for more than 18,500 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

To demonstrate the profession’s commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that encourage economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, respect the environment and build communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

To subscribe to receive BCREA publications such as this one, or to update your email address or current subscriptions, click here.

British Columbia Real Estate Association
1420 – 701 Georgia Street West
PO Box 10123, Pacific Centre
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1C6
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Real estate boards, real estate associations and REALTORS® may reprint this content, provided that credit is given to BCREA by including the following statement: "Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission."
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