Cost savings programs to save you money

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

The Vancouver Sun

  1. BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership Program

For qualifying first-time buyers with a down payment, HOME offers a matching down payment loan of up to five per cent of the purchase price to a maximum of $37,500 on a home priced up to $750,000. The loan is interest-free and payment-free for five years. Then, buyers can repay their loan or make monthly payments at prevailing interest rates. Loans are due after 25 years. Learn more, call: 604-4394727 or 1-844-365-4727.

  1. B.C. Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program

Qualifying first-time buyers may be 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 $500,000. There’s a proportional exemption for homes priced between $500,000 and $525,000. At $525,000 and above, there is no rebate. Learn more, call: 1-250-387-0604.

  1. Foreign Buyer PTT Exemption

Foreign nationals with work permits coming through the BC Provincial Nominee Program are exempt from the 15-per-cent additional PTT charged to foreign buyers.

  1. B.C. Property Transfer Tax Newly Built Home Exemption

Qualifying buyers of new homes may be exempt from paying the PTT on a newly built home or newly subdivided unit priced up to $750,000. This can save buyers up to $13,000. A partial exemption is available on newly built homes priced between $750,000 and $800,000. Learn more, call: 1-888-3552700.

  1. B.C. home owner grant

The home owner grant reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,600,000. It’s reduced $5 for each $1,000 above that value, and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,714,000. This cap is raised to $1,754,000 in northern and rural areas. The basic grant provides up to $570 for property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts. The additional grant offers $200 to rural home owners elsewhere in the province. There’s also an additional grant of $275 to seniors, those who are permanently disabled and veterans of certain wars. Learn more by contacting your municipal tax office.

  1. B.C. Property Tax Deferment Program

The B.C. Property Tax Deferment Program allows you to defer tax payments. You may qualify if you’re 55 or older, a surviving spouse of any age or a person with disabilities. There’s also a Families with Children Program that allows you to defer if you’re a parent or grandparent financially supporting a child. Learn more, call: 1-888-3552700.

  1. Home Buyers’ Plan

Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSPs may be eligible to use the program a second time. To participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan, call 1-800-267-6999.

  1. GST/HST New Housing Rebate

New-home buyers can apply for a rebate for the five-percent GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36 per cent of the GST, to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There’s a proportional GST rebate for new homes priced between $350,000 and $450,000. There’s no rebate for homes priced at $450,000 and above. Learn more, call: 1-800959-8287.

  1. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

Eligible individuals who bought a qualifying home in 2016 can claim the home buyers’ amount of $5,000 on line 369 of Schedule 1 when filing their 2016 income tax and benefit returns. For 2016, the maximum HBTC is $750, which is calculated by multiplying the home buyers’ amount of $5,000 by the federal non-refundable tax credit rate of 15 per cent (equal to the lowest personal income tax rate for the year). Learn more, call: 1-800959-8281.

  1. Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)

HAFI is a program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments to provide up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to make their homes more accessible and safer. Learn more, call: 604-433-2218 or 1-800-257-7756.

  1. B.C. Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit

This credit assists eligible seniors with the cost of permanent home renovations to improve accessibility. The maximum refundable credit is $1,000 per tax year and is calculated as 10 per cent of the qualifying renovation expense (maximum $10,000). The forms are available online. Learn more, call: 1-800-9598281.

  1. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund

This program for home buyers with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) mortgage insurance provides a 10-per-cent premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge. To qualify, buyers must purchase an energy-efficient home or make energy-saving renovations. Learn more, call: 604-731-5733.

  1. Energy-saving mortgages

Financial institutions offer special mortgages to home buyers/owners who make their homes energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. Likewise, the BMO Eco Smart Mortgage™ rewards customers for making energyefficient choices.

  1. Low-interest renovation loans

Financial institutions offer “green” loans for home owners making energy-efficient upgrades. For example, the VanCity Home Energy Loan is up to $50,000. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers one per cent off the interest rate for a fixed-rate instalment loan over $5,000, or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed-rate instalment loan over $5,000. For information, visit your financial institution.

15 Energy Conservation and Assistance Program

BC Hydro and FortisBC offer free energy assessments and energy-saving products to income-qualifying households for upgrades ranging from $300 to $5,000. Contact BC Hydro or FortisBC for more details.

16 FortisBC new home energy rebate offer

FortisBC and BC Hydro customers can receive rebates when building ENERGY STAR new homes or installing highefficiency natural gas fireplaces. Contact BC Hydro or FortisBC for more details.

17 Home energy rebate offer

BC Hydro and FortisBC offer home owners rebates for upgrades and improvements. These include insulation, spaceand water-heating systems and ventilation to reduce your energy consumption. There’s a bonus offer for completing three or more upgrades. The total value of the available rebates is $5,300 per household. Learn more, call: 1-877-740-0055.

18 Energy-saving kits

BC Hydro and FortisBC offer income-qualifying customers a free energy-saving kit containing products to help save energy and money. Check their websites for details.

19 ENERGY STAR appliances

BC Hydro Power Smart and various municipalities are offering $100 mail-in rebates to home owners buying ENERGY STAR clothes dryers and refrigerators. Coquitlam, New Westminster, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, Richmond, Vancouver and West Vancouver are participating. Learn more by contacting your local municipality.

20 FortisBC rebates for homes

Rebates for home owners include $300 for purchasing an EnerChoice fireplace, up to $1,800 off an ENERGY STAR water heater, or a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system. Total value of available rebates is $5,300 per household. Learn more, call: 1-800-663-8400.

21 FortisBC rebate for rental apartment buildings

The Rental Apartment Efficiency Program for owners and managers of rental apartment buildings of nine or more units includes a water-efficient shower head, kitchen/bathroom faucet aerator, energy assessment and ongoing professional assistance. Learn more at www.

22 Join the Power Smart team

Become a member of Team Power Smart and start a challenge to reduce your electricity use by 10 per cent over the next year. If you’re successful, you’ll earn a $50 reward. Learn more at

23 Building energy retrofit funds

The City of Vancouver’s $1 million fund includes a $150,000 grant to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation for retrofits to pre1940s homes, a new Home Energy Efficiency Empowerment Program for 675 home owners to evaluate energy efficiency, and $1 million to a Green Landlord Program to help non-market apartment building owners and operators reinvest in buildings and reduce energy costs. Contact the City of Vancouver for more details.

24 Rain barrel subsidy programs

Metro Vancouver municipalities offer rain barrels for sale at a discount for residents. For example, Richmond offers $30, Burnaby offers $70, Coquitlam offers $72 and West Vancouver offers $55. Other municipalities may have similar offers. Contact your municipality for more information.

25 Water-saving kits

Most Metro Vancouver municipalities offer watersaving kits to reduce water use including Burnaby, Coquitlam and Delta. Contact your local municipality to see what it offers.

26 Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant

Grants of up to $6,000 per household are available to assist with energy retrofits for Vancouver homes built before 1940 and homes listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register. Qualifying retrofits include insulation, air sealing, window repairs, storm windows and high-efficiency forms of heating and hot water. Learn more at

27 Local government water meter programs

Municipalities may offer water metering, so you only pay for the water you use. Burnaby, Delta, Richmond and West Vancouver have programs. For more information, visit your municipality’s website and search for “water meter.”

28 Vancouver Thermal Imaging Program

This is a new program to help detached home owners identify heat loss and connect them with energy-saving incentives. Neighbourhoods piloting the program include Strathcona, Hastings Sunrise, Dunbar-Southlands, Riley Park and Victoria Fraserview. Contact [email protected] for more information.

29 Leaders in Energy Management Program

The Leaders in Energy Management Program partners BC Hydro with B.C.’s largest commercial, government and institutional customers. The program is offered to users who spend more than $200,000 a year on energy. Customers gain access to energy-management programs, tools and incentives. Learn more, call: 1-800-4746886.

30 Business energysaving incentives

These financial incentives are offered to organizations that replace inefficient technologies with energy-efficient ones. Learn more, call: 1-800-474-6886.

31 FortisBC rebate program for businesses

FortisBC provides a variety of rebates for commercial buildings. For more information on what programs are available, and to see if your business qualifies, contact FortisBC.

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