In 2016, BC Premier Christy Clark vowed to make homes more affordable. At the same time, she introduced a series of changes to the Property Transfer Tax (PTT), including:
- a 3% PTT on the value of property exceeding $2 million; and
- an additional 15% tax for foreign buyers of residential real estate in Metro Vancouver. (In March 2017, foreign nationals with work permits living in Metro Vancouver and paying taxes were exempted from this tax).
Since then the premier has also brought in:
- a PTT exemption for first-time buyers of newly-constructed homes valued up to $750,000; and
- an exemption to the additional 15% for foreign buyers with work permits.
While these exemptions, help, they don’t go far enough. In 2016/17, the PTT will generate $2 billion in revenue. Of this, the government has:
- committed $516 million for affordable rental homes, and
- implemented the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership Program providing a matching downpayment of up to $37,500 interest-free for five years, for qualifying buyers.
Meanwhile the real estate and construction sectors are key economic drivers in the province, generating 37.2% of provincial GDP.