Housing was the dominant issue in the Provincial budget released on February 20, 2018

 

The government released a 30-point housing strategy aimed at reducing housing demand, curbing tax fraud, building affordable housing, and increasing security for renters. 

New tax measures include increasing property taxes and property transfer taxes on residential properties valued above $3 million, expanding the foreign buyer tax, and implementing a housing speculation tax.

“We welcome the provincial government’s commitment to address money laundering concerns and increase the supply of affordable, social, and rental housing in our province,” Jill Oudil, Board president said. “We’re concerned, however, about the series of tax measures announced today. The budget introduces new taxes, hints at future taxes, and hikes existing taxes on housing. Taxes don’t make homes more affordable.”

Below is a summary of the key real estate measures announced today. There’s considerable information to go through. We’re analyzing each item to understand the implications to you and your clients and will report back with more information and analysis in future communications.

Affordable housing

  • The province is investing $6 billion in affordable housing to create 114,000 homes over the next 10 years.
  • The province will enhance local government capacity to build and retain affordable housing.
  • The province will require developers to collect and report comprehensive information about the assignment of pre-sale condo purchases.
  • The province intends to track beneficial ownership information.
  • The province will collect additional information to increase transparency and strengthen enforcement in real estate.

Tax measures

Speculation tax

  • The province will implement a new speculation tax on residential properties, targeting foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay income tax in BC. This includes those who leave homes vacant.
  • The tax will apply to the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Capital, and Nanaimo Regional districts and in the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.
  • In 2018, the tax rate will be $5 per $1,000 of assessed value. In 2019, the tax rate will rise to $20 per $1,000 of assessed value.
  • The province will administer the tax and will collect data to enforce it including, social insurance numbers, household information, and world-wide income information.

Foreign buyer tax

  • Effective Feb. 21, 2018, the foreign buyer tax will increase to 20 per cent from 15 per cent and will be extended to the Fraser Valley, Capital, Nanaimo, and Central Okanagan Regional Districts.
  • If the property is located in the Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, Regional District of Central Okanagan, or Nanaimo Regional District, and the property transfer is registered on or after February 21, 2018, there are transitional rules available here.

Property Transfer Tax

Effective Feb. 21, 2018, the Property Transfer Tax on residential properties above $3 million will increase to five per cent from three per cent.

Provincial School Tax

Beginning in 2019, the provincial school tax will increase on most residential properties in excess of $3 million.

Database on pre-sale condo assignments

The province will require developers to collect and report comprehensive information about the assignment of pre-sale condo purchases. The information will be reported to a designated government office and shared with federal and provincial tax authorities to ensure taxes are paid.

Online accommodation PST and MRDT

Online accommodation platforms are enabled to collect and remit the Provincial Sales Tax and Municipal and Regional District Tax (Hotel Room Tax).

Property tax treatment for ALR land

As part of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) review, the province is examining residential land in the ALR to ensure land is used for farming.

Clarity of property ownership

Compelling access to MLS®

The province plans to enable tax administrators to compel access to information relevant to property transfers, such as information held in a MLS® database. (We’re asking government for clarification.)

Beneficial land ownership registry

The province will require additional information about beneficial ownership on the PTT form.

Administered by the LTSA, the information will be publicly available and shared with federal and provincial tax and law enforcement authorities. Legislation will be introduced to require BC corporations to hold accurate and up to date information on beneficial owners in their own record offices available to law enforcement, tax and other authorities.

Task force on money laundering and tax evasion

The province will work with the federal government to formalize a multi-agency working group on tax evasion, money laundering and housing.

Residential Tenancy Branch

Increased funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch to reduce wait time, improve service and deal with disputes more quickly, as well as strengthening the Residential Tenancy Act and the penalties for those who repeatedly break the law.

Read the Homes for BC 30-point plan for housing affordability

Read the Budget press release

Read the Fiscal Plan (opens a 157-page pdf)

Read the Budget 2018 Speech


Compliments of REBGV

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Vancouver, BC – February 15, 2018. TheBritish Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 5,306 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in January, an increase of 18.3 per cent from the same period last year.


The average MLS® residential price in BC was $721,477, up 16.2 per cent from the previous year.


Total sales dollar volume was $3.83 billion, a 37.4 per cent increase from January 2017.

“BC home sales dipped 10 per cent from December to January, on a seasonally adjusted basis," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "New mortgage rules requiring conventional borrowers to qualify at a higher interest rate likely contributed to the decline in home sales last month.


The impact was magnified by a strong December as many households advanced their purchase decisions ahead of the policy's implementation."


Despite the decline in January transactions, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of home sales was 101,800 units.

Compared to January 2017, market conditions tightened in all BC board areas except Victoria, where the sales-to-active listings ratio declined from 46.3 per cent to 40.5 per cent. Despite this decline, Victoria remains in strong sellers' market territory.


Total active listings in the province were down 8.6 per cent to 20,901 units, compared to the same period last year.

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Metro Vancouver Housing Starts - February 8, 2018

 

BC saw total housing starts fall 16 per cent to 41,648 units SAAR in December on a monthly basis. However, total starts in BC were up 59 per cent year-over-year.


Single detached starts were up 1 per cent on a monthly basis but increased 78 per cent compared to January 2017 while multiple starts were down 21 per cent month-over-month and were 54 per cent higher year-over-year.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were higher across all home types, nearly doubling the pace of construction in January 2017. There were a total of 2,599 housing starts across the region compared to just 1,334 the same time last year.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts slowed from the record setting pace of previous months, falling 52 per cent on a monthly basis. However, new home construction remains robust at a more than 3,000 unit annual rate in seasonally adjusted terms.
  • The Kelowna CMA saw an increase from 51 units last January to 87 total starts in January 2018. Much of the increase was the result of new rental unit projects.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA rose 42 per cent on a monthly basis in January with balanced growth across multiple and single detached starts.  However, total housing starts were well behind the pace set in January of 2017.

For more information, please contact: 

Cameron Muir

Brendon Ogmundson

Chief Economist

Economist

Direct: 604.742.2780

Direct: 604.742.2796

Mobile: 778.229.1884

Mobile: 604.505.6793

Email: cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca

Email: bogmundson@bcrea.bc.ca

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.