BC Budget 2019,tabled on February 19, 2019 by Finance Minister Carole James, offers nothing to help home buyers – whether they’re first-timers or trading up.
The government is forecasting Property Transfer Tax (PTT) revenue to remain at $1.910 billion, despite a significant slowdown in home sales and housing starts.
The Speculation and Vacancy Tax
- Forecast to bring in $87 million in 2018/2019 and $185 million in each of the three fiscal years following.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver recommendations
- increase the First-Time Home Buyers’ Program PTT exemption threshold to $750,000 from $500,000.
- increase the 1% PTT threshold to $525,000 from $200,000 for all home buyers.
- index PTT thresholds using the consumer price index, and make adjustments annually for the:expand the exemption for the additional 20% foreign buyers’ PTT to include everyone with a work permit in BC, and don’t increase this tax or expand it beyond its current geographical scope.
- 2% and 3% thresholds;
- First-Time Home Buyers’ Program exemption threshold; and
- Newly Built Home Exemption threshold.
The government did not implement any of these recommendations.
Other Budget highlights
- $6 million for Anti-money laundering, cannabis legislation and gun and gang violence.
Speculation and Vacancy Tax – retroactive to November 27, 2018:
- There’s an exemption for property that's uninhabitable due to a natural disaster or a hazardous condition for at least 60 days.
- Funding to community organizations to operate rent banks to help tenants in danger of losing their homes.
- Funding for short-term loans with low/no interest to low-income tenants in financial crisis who can’t pay rent.
Although the government promised to introduce a $400 annual renters’ rebate, this is missing from this budget.
- Additional funding of $679 million for the CleanBC plan includes $58 million to make homes/ buildings more energy efficient. This covers rebates up to $14,000 for energy efficiency home improvements and $700 for high-efficiency natural gas furnaces. Rebates up to $6,000 apply to new zero-emission vehicles.