A Little Help to Purchase Your First Home!

As well as record-low mortgage rates, first-time home buyers have other incentives to reduce the cost of homeownership. These include:
  • The ability to withdraw up to $25,000 from a RRSP for a downpayment, interest and tax free. (A couple can draw out a total of $50,000). Talk to your bank for more information.
  • A $750 First-Time Home Buyers Credit that can help with closing costs.  
  • Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the BC Property Transfer Tax of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% of the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000.
  • The BC Home Owner Grant, which helps reduce property taxes by up to $570 with the basic grant and a further $275 for those who qualify.

You qualify as a first time home buyer for the Property Transfer Tax  if:

  • you are a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada),
  • you have lived in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property, or you have filed 2 income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the date you register the property,
  • you have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time (a principal residence is the usual place where an individual lives), and you have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund.
  • the fair market value of the property (land plus improvements) is not more than the qualifying value of $425,000 (only if purchasing an existing home),
  • the land is 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller, and
  • the property will only be used as your principal residence.

Please note: If there is more than one purchaser and not all purchasers qualify for the exemption, only the percentage interest acquired by the first time home buyer(s) is eligible. Your lawyer or notary can advise you on all requirements when closing.


Home Listings Continue to Rise in the Greater Vancouver Housing Market

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver News Release  VANCOUVER, B.C. – October 4, 2011

Consistent increases in property listings and fewer home sales over the summer months has helped move the Greater Vancouver housing market into the upper end of a buyers’ market.

      The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties on the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) reached 2,246 in September, a 1.2 per cent increase compared to the 2,220 sales in September 2010. Those sales also rank as the third lowest total for September over the last 10 years.

      “There's more competition amongst home sellers in today's market, providing more options for prospective buyers," Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said."Buyers now have more properties to choose from and more time to make decisions compared to the spring season.”

      New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,680 in September, the third highest volume for September in 17 years. This represents a 20.1 per cent increase compared to September 2010 when 4,731 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 21.2 per cent increase compared to the 4,685 new listings reported in August 2011.

      The number of properties listed for sale on the Greater Vancouver MLS® system has increased each month since the beginning of the year. At 16,085, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 4.6 per cent in September compared to August 2011 and rose 4.4 per cent compared to this time last year.

      “Our sales-to-active-listing ratio currently sits at 14 per cent, which is the lowest it’s been this year. Generally analysts say that a buyer’s market takes shape when the ratio dips to about 12 to 14%, or lower, for a sustained period of time,” Setticasi said.

      The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 8.8 per cent to $627,994 in September 2011 from $577,174 in September 2010.

      Since reaching a peak in June of $630,921, the benchmark price for all residential properties in the region has declined 0.5 per cent.

      Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in September 2011 reached 957, an increase of 10.5 per cent from the 866 detached sales recorded in September 2010, and a 32.8 per cent decrease from the 1,423 units sold in September 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 13.4 per cent from September 2010 to $896,701.

      Sales of apartment properties reached 922 in September 2011, a 5 per cent decrease compared to the 971 sales in September 2010, and a decrease of 38.1 per cent compared to the 1,489 sales in September 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.4 per cent from September 2010 to $405,569.

      Attached property sales in September 2011 totalled 367, a 4.2 per cent decrease compared to the 383 sales in September 2010, and a 43.3 per cent decrease from the 647 attached properties sold in September 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 5.4 per cent between September 2010 and 2011 to $516,697.

The real estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2010, 30,595 homes changed ownership in the Board's area, generating $1.28 billion in spin-off activity and 8,567 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transacted through the MLS® system in Greater Vancouvertotalled $21 billion in 2010. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is an association representing more than 10,000 REALTORS® and their companies. The Board provides a variety of member services, including the Multiple Listing Service®. For more information on real estate, statistics, and buying or selling a home, contact a local REALTOR® or visit


Listing Your Home...Seller Beware!

So you’ve decided to sell your home and have an idea of what you think it’s worth. You schedule appointments with three local listing agents who have been referred by a friend or relative, or work in your neighbourhood regularly. Each Realtor recommends a list price and shows you comparative data to back up their opinion.

Two of the Realtors have come up with prices that are lower than you hoped. Although they back up their recommendations with recent sales data of similar homes, you still think your house is worth more.
When you interview the third agent, they tell you a price much more in line with your own anticipated value, or maybe even higher. Suddenly, you are a happy and excited home seller, already counting the money!
If you’re like many people, you pick Realtor number three. You eagerly sign a listing contract with this Realtor because this is an agent who seems willing to listen to your input and work with you. This is an agent that cares about putting the most money in your pocket. This is an agent that is willing to start out at your price and if you need to drop the price later, you can do that easily, right?

The truth is, you may have just met an agent engaging in a questionable sales practice called "buying a listing". By suggesting he might be able to get a higher sales price than the other agents recommended, he raised the odds considerably more in his favour that you'd choose him and essentially "bought" the listing. Most likely, he is quite doubtful that your home will actually sell at that price.

The intention from the beginning was to get that listing and eventually talk you into lowering the price. In the long run, you may sell at a price similar to what was suggested by the other agents, or may even lose money if the property is on the market too long.

Remember that, ultimately, the market place establishes your home’s value. There are many factors that determine the market - regional economics, time of year, and condition of the property, to name a few. Realize that a good agent must consider all of these factors and that marketing plans and negotiation abilities are far more important than just a high market estimate.

Choose your agent based on honesty, ethics, experience, marketing, and how comfortable you feel working with them. After all, you are trusting them to advise and act in your best interest.

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Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), 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 GVR, 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 GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.