home buyer programs BC

Home Buyer Programs in BC Summarized

Jeff Evans

Speaking with a client this week, they were mentioning a government home buyer program that gives them $10,000 for being a first-time home buyer. I hadn’t heard of this before, and usually I am someone who is fairly on top of all this information. For this reason, I was surprised, and I decided to do some research.

It turns out, the client was half-right. I also didn’t know about this and it got me thinking that it would be good to summarize all the government programs and incentives currently available to BC and Vancouver area residents. As with a summary, I am including only the most important details for simplicity, please reference the source for all details. Without further adieu:

Home buyer programs for BC

Home Buyers Plan (HBP)

The first home buyer programs is the Home Buyers Plan. This Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) program allows Canadian residents to borrow up to $25,000 from RRSP’s to use towards the purchase of their home. The advantage of this is that this money is not subject to withholding tax. It is technically a loan though, so it must be repaid over the course of 15 years. The program is also commonly believed to only be available to first-time home-buyers, however those who have owned before but not in the previous 4 years are also eligible, provided they haven’t used it before and have a balance still owing from the previous Home Buyers Plan.

Line 369 – Home Buyers Amount

The interesting thing about definitions is depending on who defines them, what sounds like one thing can be something totally different. This program is a good example. As stated on the CRA website regarding eligibility for this program:

“You did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years (first-time home buyer).”

I suppose the CRA believes you are born again every 4 years. Regardless, the eligibility is basically as stated above, and entitles you to save $750 on your taxes.

First Time Home Buyers Program (BC)

The Home Buyer Programs in BC is a program that saves first-time home buyers a substantial amount of money on their purchase. When someone normally purchases a property, they are subjected to the Property
Transfer Tax. This tax is applied at a rate of 1% of the first $200,000 purchase price, and 2% of every dollar thereafter. For example, for a $300,000 property, you would have to pay $4,000 (1% of $200,000 + 2% of $100,000). With this program, anyone purchasing a home for $500,000 or less gets a full exemption from paying this tax.
However, for the BC government, first-time really means first-time, so you can only use this once. However, if your spouse has never owned a home before, its possible to use it a second time.

Newly Built Home Exemption

This is another home buyer program for BC that allows purchasers of newly constructed homes to have an exemption on their property transfer tax.  The exemption applies to new construction with a purchase price less than $750,000, and is available to all citizens and permanent residents.

GST New housing Rebate

In this particular home buyer programs, if you purchase or build a new home that has a market value of less than $450,000 as your principal residence, you can receive a rebate of part of the GST on your house.  For homes less than $350,000, the amount of the rebate would be 36% of the GST paid.  If it is between $350,000 and $400,000, a partial rebate is provided.

Energy Efficient Building Programs

While this is not necessarily a home buyer programs for BC, it is nonetheless worth mentioning. As is commonly known, if you purchase a home with less than 20% down-payment, your mortgage is required by law to be insured with mortgage default insurance, and the insurance premium is added to your mortgage. For example, for someone with a $300,000 mortgage who purchased a home with 5% down and 30 year amortization, the mortgage insurance premium would be $8,850. If you purchase a home that meets the energy efficient standards and has the certification, you can save 10% of the regular premium plus any premiums paid for extended amortization over 25 years.

In the example above, that person would get rebated $1,425.

Many Creative Ways To Save On Your Mortgage And House

I am always looking for information that will help my clients to save or make extra money and I have much more information that can help home buyers and home owners to improve their finances beyond just getting a great rate or favourable terms and conditions on their mortgage financing.

Everyone’s situation is unique and unique situations call for unique solutions. My next article will be addressing what the banks and their employees consider to be solutions, and I can tell you that you do not want to go there. For a unique solution to your specific needs from a trusted and BBB accredited source, please give me a call or write me to arrange a mortgage review.


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