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Will you benefit from the B.C. budget’s changes to real estate sales?

By Lori Culbert, Vancouver Sun, February 17, 2016

Will you benefit or take a financial hit from the changes to B.C.’s Property Transfer Tax that were announced in Tuesday’s budget?

If you are buying an existing home, you are out of luck — you must still pay the transfer taxes on all sales over $475,000.

But if you want to buy a newly built house, the thresholds to avoid paying the transfer tax have now been increased to $750,000 (for a full exemption) and $800,000 (partial exemption).

It is impossible to know how many new houses built in the future will be sold for under $800,000. But 2015 housing assessments give us a snapshot of what homes are worth in every region of the province.

Landcor Data Corp., a Vancouver analytics firm with a massive database of real estate facts and figures, crunched the numbers for The Sun to reveal where there are many or just a few existing homes assessed under this price point.

In nearly all rural towns — including Armstrong, Courtenay, Cranbrook and Castlegar — and many semi-rural cities — such as Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, Hope, Kamloops, Campbell River, Nanaimo and Mission — almost all detached houses, attached houses and condominiums are assessed at under $800,000.

In Metro Vancouver, the tax change should mostly help people who want to live in Delta, Surrey or Langley, where all condos and townhouses, and three-quarters of detached houses, are below $800,000.

In New Westminster, nearly all condos and townhouses fall below this threshold, but only half of detached homes.

In cities like Burnaby, Richmond and North Vancouver, a high majority of condos and townhouses are priced under $800,000, but only a tiny fraction of detached houses.

In Vancouver, virtually none of the detached homes were valued under $800,000, but you could buy half the townhouses and almost all the condos for that amount. The situation was worse in West Vancouver, where no detached homes and only nine per cent of townhouses were below $800,000, and only half the condos fell below this benchmark.

The government will fund the drop in transfer tax revenue by adding a new luxury tax of three per cent to all homes sold for more than $2 million.

Where will this most affect people? Not surprisingly, in Vancouver (23,042 detached houses valued at more than $2 million) and in West Vancouver (7,290 houses).

The next group of cities with the highest percentage of houses over $2 million are: Belcarra, Whistler, Anmore, Lions Bay, North Vancouver, Richmond and White Rock.

To view the interactive maps, click on the Vancouver Sun orginal article here: