Last March, for the first time since 2001, a NDP government delivered a budget to British Columbians for the coming year.
The name of the game in the new budget is affordability — huge investments were promised in everything from childcare to healthcare to housing.
With pledges of money, though, comes a need to generate revenue to fund it. With that came a plethora of new regulations and taxes in the property market, outlined the budget.
The main take-aways for real estate in B.C. are:
1. Speculation Tax
This new annual tax will apply to foreign and domestic property owners who are not residents of B.C.
Some exemptions may be made for principal residences or long-term rental properties but it will include properties that are left vacant.
The tax will be introduced this fall and apply initially apply to homes in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and some other capital regional districts like Victoria, Nanaimo, and Kelowna.
It will start at tax rate of 0.5 per cent of the assessed value in 2018 and increase to 2 per cent of assessed value next year.
2. Enhanced Foreign Buyers Tax
Starting this month, the previously-introduced foreign buyers tax will be increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. It will extend to other areas across the province and no longer cover just Metro Vancouver.
3. Property Transfer Tax on Homes Above $3M
An additional 2 per cent property transfer tax will be applied to homes above $3 million, on top of the previous transfer taxes.
4. Pre-sale Condos
The government will be cracking down on the pre-sale condo market, requiring developers to collect and report comprehensive information and building build a database on pre-sale condo assignments.
5. First Time Buyer Program
Details have not been finalized but the previous home partnership loan that matched first-time buyers with down payments up to 5 per cent will be replaced with a different program to support the development of affordable housing options.
6. Affordable Housing
The province promised $6 billion over the next decade to build 114,000 affordable homes units including modular, student and social housing.