BC Budget - Housing

VICTORIA - Buyers of newly-built homes will get a break on their taxes, as part of changes in the B.C. budget designed to address the Lower Mainland's red hot housing market.

The government will, starting Wednesday, exempt any purchaser of a newly-built home, condo or townhouse valued under $750,000 from the property transfer tax, potentially saving them up to $13,000.

The deal only applies for the first owner of a new home, and the buyer must live in the property for at least a year. It's valid anywhere in the province, but only for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

To make up the money, government will increase the property transfer tax by one per cent, to a total of 3 per cent, on any home sale worth more than $2 million.

The move may help encourage the construction of new housing, which Finance Minister Mike de Jong said is crucial to addressing the limited supply, but rising demand, for homes in B.C.

"We've taken some pretty purposeful steps to assist those who have the demand and incent the supply," he said.

It's on top of an existing first-time homebuyer exemption for new and used homes, which remains in place for properties less than $475,000.

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