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This article was just published by "Business in Vancouver" The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) has been trying to make an election issue out of what it views as an unfair property transfer tax (PTT), which discourages real-estate transactions at a time when sales are at 12-year lows. Last month's real-estate sales in Metro Vancouver, for example, were the lowest April totas in the region since 2001 and 20.9% below the 10-year sales average for the month. Real-estate buyers pay a 1% tax on each dollar up to $200,000 and a 2% tax on each dollar they spend above that amount. The only exemption is for first-time homebuyers who spend less than $425,000. "The PTT was brought in 26 years ago as a wealth tax," said REBGV president Sandra Wyant. "When the tax started, 5% of properties in Greater Vancouver sold for more than $200,000. Now, 95% of properties sell above that amount. The [1%] threshold has not changed in all that time." Wyant wants the B.C. government to raise the threshold so that buyers pay 1% on each dollar up to $525,000 and 2% on each dollar thereafter. She also wants Victoria to link the 1% threshold to home prices so that if prices rise a set percentage, the 1% threshold rises the same amount. The problem is that the tax has become a cash cow for the government and any reductions in the tax would hurt its ability to return to balanced budgets any time soon. The B.C. government raked in about $600 million from the property transfer tax last year, according to REBGV statistics. REBGV economist Cameron Muir's calculations show that his organization's recommended raising of the 1% threshold would have cost the government about $158 million in 2010. Exact calculations are tricky, however, because Muir was forced to estimate how many homes were bought by first-time buyers and what those homes cost. Thinking that the government would simply forego the revenue that the tax brings in is impractical, said Tsur Somerville, associate professor at the University of British Columbia Centre for Urban Economics. "The question is 'What tax would you do instead?'" he added. Given the tax's roots as a tax on wealth, the income tax on high earners could be raised, Somerville said. Other options could be: a provincial property tax that is paid annually, much like municipal property taxes; a capital gains tax on the profit generated by selling real estate; or a PTT that is charged to the seller instead of the buyer; and raising the 1% tax threshold but adding a threshold above which buyers are taxed 2.5% or 3% on each dollar. PARTIES REJECT CHANGES TO PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX None of the major parties running in the May 14 provincial election support changes to the property transfer tax that the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) is advocating. "Our budget and platform does not include any changes to the PTT," said Finance Minister Mike de Jong, who is also a BC Liberal candidate in Abbotsford-West. "We are committed to balancing our budget and the province does not have the financial room to make any changes to the PTT at this time." NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston, who is a candidate in Surrey-Whalley, similarly rejects the idea that his government would forgo any of the revenue that the tax generates. "We will not be changing the PTT at this time," he told BIV. "In discussions with the real estate and development industry over the last couple of years, we have indicated we are open to considering proposals to improve the PTT that are revenue neutral." The Green Party of BC has no policy on raising the 1% threshold of the property transfer tax because the issue has yet to register as a concern among voters, said spokesperson David King. No one from the BC Conservatives responded by press time to BIV's requests for the party's position on the tax. MLM- "It's very interesting to see where PTT will end up, but the odds doesn't look very good for a lower PTT." If your're thinking to buy a home for your Modern Life style, you should act fast........ send us a email or phone call and we'll make your dream home into reality.
This article was just published by "Business in Vancouver" A B.C. credit union is predicting a weak, slow recovery for home sales across the province this year. “The year-long correction in home sales is likely to bottom out in the first quarter of 2013 and we'll see a slow recovery through the rest of the year,” said Central 1 Credit Union economist Bryan Yu. “But the gains will be modest.” The credit union said sluggish employment, static population growth and new, tighter mortgage requirements introduced by the federal government in July 2012 were all factors. Median home prices in Vancouver are expected to dip 4% to $474,000, but to rise slightly at the end of 2013. Home prices in Lower Mainland suburbs, which accounts for 60% of all provincial sales, will also fall 4%. The new mortgage insurance rules have hit this region particularly hard, said the credit union. Housing starts slowed down in late 2012 in response to the slowing market, a trend Central 1 expects to continue in 2013. But new housing projects that were started in 2010 and 2011 are coming on line now, leading to a sharp rise in new home transactions. If your're thinking to buy a home for your Modern Life style, you should act fast........ send us a email or phone call and we'll make your dream home into reality.
This article was just published by "Business in Vancouver" Sales were the second lowest February total in the region since 2001 and 30.9% below the 10-year sales average for the month, the REBGV noted. Two signs of strength were a much higher sales-to-listings ratio and slightly higher prices. Metro Vancouver home prices reached a peak of $625,100 in May and have since fallen 5.6% to $590,400 – a 3.3% decline compared with the same time last year. February's average price was 0.4% more than the average in January of $588,100. The sales-to-listings ratio currently sits at 12.2% in Metro Vancouver. That's an increase of two percentage points compared with the 10.2% rate in January. A "buyers' market" is generally considered to be when the sales-to-listings ratio is lower than 13%, REBGV president Eugen Klein told Business in Vancouver. "With a two-point increase in our sales-to-active-listings ratio and a reduction in the average number of days it's taking to sell a home, February showed some subtle indications of a changing sentiment in the marketplace compared with recent months," Klein said. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) is forecasting that Vancouver will shift from being in a "buyers' market" to a "balanced market" later this year. If your're thinking to buy a home for your Modern Life style, you should act fast........ give us a email or phone call and we'll make your dreams home into reality.