B.C.’s First-Time Home Buyers’ Program (FTHBP) is a provincial government program designed to assist new homeowners. The First-Time Home Buyers’ Program is not to be confused with the Home Buyers’ Amount. While the former is a provincial property transfer tax exemption offered to eligible first-time home buyers in B.C., the latter is a federal non-refundable tax credit available to qualified Canadian residents.
B.C.’s First-Time Home Buyers’ Program is designed to help reduce or eliminate the amount of property transfer tax qualified home buyers pay when they purchase their first home. To qualify for the First-Time Home Buyers’ Program, the following criteria must be met:
At the time the property is registered with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia, you must:
- be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;
- have lived in B.C. for a minimum of 12 consecutive months up until you registered the property, or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years;
- never previously owned any interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time; and
- have at no time received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund.
In the case of the property, it must:
- be located in B.C.;
- be your principle residence;
- have a fair market value of $475,000 or less if register on or before February 21, 2017, or $500,000 or less if registered on or after February 22, 2017; and
- be 1.24 acres or smaller.
If you and the property meet all these criteria, you can receive an exemption equal to the full amount of your property transfer tax. This corresponds to a savings of up to $8,000. The exemption amount varies depending on the fair market value of your property.
You may still qualify for a partial exemption if the property:
- has a fair market value of less than $500,000 if registered on or before February 21 , 2017, or $525,000 if registered on or before February 21 , 2017;
- is larger than 0.5 hectors (1.24 acres); and
- has another property on the property other than the principal residence.
The First-Time Home Buyers’ Program is a very powerful cost-saving measure. If you would like learn how it and other programs can help you and your family, contact GB Pilley & Associates Ltd., Chartered Professional Accountants at 604 926 3522.