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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.

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In February 2008, both the provincial and the federal governments introduced annual budgets. For the third consecutive budget, the BC government has increased the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) first-time buyer exemption price threshold.
First-time buyers can now buy a home priced up to $425,000 and not pay the PTT. The previous ceiling was $375,000. Buyers of homes priced up to $450,000 can claim a proportional exemption.First-time buyers can now pay down their mortgages by any amount in the
first year of ownership without being disqualified from the exemption. Gone are the PTT financing rules that required buyers to have at least a 70 per cent mortgage and registered financing to qualify for the exemption.

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