Understanding what’s new with the Property Transfer Tax

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

The Vancouver Sun

Are you a first-time home buyer? If so, you should familiarize yourself with the BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program.

The PTT exemption program is simple. Qualifying first-time buyers are exempt from paying the PTT of one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remainder of the purchase price of a resale home priced up to $475,000. There’s a proportional exemption for homes priced between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above there’s no rebate.

As of February 17, the BC government added a new rule to help foster new construction. It made qualifying buyers exempt from paying the PTT on a newly built, or newly subdivided, home priced up to $750,000. This could potentially save you up to $13,000. There’s also a partial exemption on newly built homes priced $750,000 to $800,000. On top of this, a new three per cent PTT rate applies to the portion of all home sales that exceed $2 million.

What qualifies as a newly built home?

  • a house built on vacant land;
  • a new apartment in a newly built condominium building;
  • a manufactured home on vacant land;
  • an existing house that’s been moved from one parcel of land to a vacant parcel;
  • a new house or houses resulting from the subdivision of a lot, as long as the new house(s) haven’t been occupied since the subdivision; or
  • a house converted from an existing improvement on the land. The previous improvement couldn’t have been in residential use. For example, a warehouse converted into apartments would qualify.

If you applied for the First Time Home Buyers Program after February 16, 2016, but want to apply for the Newly Built Home Exemption instead, contact Finance Ministry staff at 1-888-355-2700 (Toll free).

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