Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The New BC HST Will See Decreased Housing Affordability, Increased Rents, A BC Construction Industry Crash and Fewer First Time Homebuyers

FOR OUR BC HST INFO CENTRE, PLEASE CLICK HERE. Info covering B.C. HST Rebates, Transitional Rules, New Home Price Increases, Anti-HST Petitions and Much More!

B.C. and Greater Vancouver Homebuyers Will See Cost of New Home Purchases and Home Ownership Skyrocket by Thousands of Dollars Thanks to the New British Columbia HST Tax

According to artiles published from the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers, British Columbians are in for a crisis following the B.C. Government’s announcement of the harmonization of the PST and GST taxes into the single 12% HST tax. What some British Columbians don’t understand quite yet, is why the government failed to notify the public and taxpayers earlier regarding their plans for the B.C. Harmonized Sales Tax and even then, why they didn’t seek input from taxpayers, various industries including the construction and home building industries in addition to other organizations and businesses. One thing is for certain: B.C. and Greater Vancouver homebuyers are the BIGGEST LOSERS under the controversial B.C. HST or harmonized sales tax. Starting July 1, 2010, the Harmonized Sales Tax of British Columbia will come into effect, and both new and resale Vancouver and BC home purchasers will be out of tens of thousands of dollars when purchasing their biggest single asset in their lifetime.

Most British Columbians view the new BC HST as a government tax grab that is unfounded and breaks the BC Liberal Governments' election promise to lower taxes.

Also, visit our updated BC HST Price Chart that shows the increased cost of purchasing a new home in Vancouver and British Columbia after the July 1st, 2010 HST implementation.

The Most Expensive Real Estate Markets in Canada Will Become More Unaffordable

B.C. real estate is the most expensive in all of Canada. And when you factor in the property markets in the Okanagan, Vancouver Island/Victoria and Greater Vancouver/Lower Mainland are the hottest and most expensive in the country, British Columbia homebuyers will suffer the most from this harmonized sales tax of 12% HST. BC residents will end up paying taxes on land, the house and other professional services in any B.C. and Greater Vancouver real estate transactio through the controversial BC HST tax implementation in 2010. Firstly, the 12% Harmonized Sales Tax will be applied to any new B.C. home or property. Compared to the current GST/PST system, new home buyers in Greater Vancouver and British Columbia only need to pay the 5% GST on any new real estate purchase (and even then, they get a significant rebate up to $450,000 purchase price) and PST is NOT applied to any new home purchase in the province. Under the new system with the new BC HST Harmonized Sales Tax on real estate, new homes will have the extra 7% (equivalent to the BC PST of 7%) applied to every new property transaction. BC already has one of the highest Property Transfer Taxes in the entire country too, with some partial PTT exemptions only for first time homebuyers and only up to a certain price point. Currently, the Property Transfer Tax in BC is calculated as 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remaining amount, which can add a significant amount (thousands) to any new or resale BC or Vancouver home purchase. It has been calculated that a new home costing $800,000 in BC will be subject to the 12% HST tax with the maximum partial HST rebate at only $20,000. The difference between total purchase price of the new home in BC (not including increase costs in closing fees) is approximately $56,000.

The HST Input Tax Credit and What It Means to B.C. Home Builders

The new BC Harmonized Sales Tax system will have profound effects on the construction and BC home building industries, allowing homebuilders and developers to pass on the PST for building materials (about 2% in total) which can now be embedded into the price of a new British Columbia or Greater Vancouver home on the market. Again, the biggest losers are the BC and Vancouver homebuyers who will have to shell out this different as most homebuilders will be looking out for their bottom line and saving the 2% wherever possible. Under the new BC HST input tax credit regulations, home builders in Vancouver and the province can claim money back as an HST input tax credit, that would reduce their tax bill by about $8,000 if they pass this cost onto the end homebuyer of the new home. This is most likely the fact of life that new BC homebuyers have to face if they want to buy, design, construct or invest in a new property starting July 1st, 2010. Compared to the Fraser Valley real estate market, a new detached home in that region goes for an average of $506,000 resulting in an added $15,500 in taxes due to the B.C. Harmonized Sales Tax, and that is even after the HST rebate maximum.

The B.C. Harmonized Sales Tax has growing opposition with many anti-HST petitions, campaigns and movements gaining momentum.

The HST Will Influence Other Transaction Services

Other profound influences of the British Columbia Harmonized Sales Tax on other real estate transaction services, goods, and fees include realtor’s commissions that will cost a lot more and will rise from the 5% GST only to the 12% HST. The average real estate agent commission on a $800,000 home in B.C. is roughly $40,000, so the increase in 7% in taxes will add thousands to this fee for BC home sellers. In addition, if you take into account other real estate professional fees such as a notary public, legal fees, surveyor, appraiser or home inspector, all of which are subject to the 12% Harmonized Sales Tax in BC, this will certainly add hundreds more dollars onto your cash out in any BC real estate transaction, whether it is a new property or a resale property. Other transaction services affected by the B.C. 12% HST include such things as residual costs that include renovations, maintenance, green energy retrofits etc which are all subject to the twelve per cent harmonized sales tax come July 2010. Many home builders and renovators have already expressed their anger towards this new B.C. HST and say that they will build flat out until July 1, 2010. After this date, analysts predict a significant drop in sales of new B.C. and Greater Vancouver homes and according to the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, the introduction of the BC Harmonized Sales Tax will become a huge barrier to affordability in the housing markets in B.C. The higher costs of housing will have a profound influence on the middle class who are on the verge of upgrading their homes for their families or first time homebuyers who seek home ownership. The multi-millionaires will pay the tax, and will not really care, as they have the money. Some analysts also say that the $400,000 threshold for the BC HST rebate is way too low, especially in the Lower Mainland and Greater Vancouver real estate markets. The more realistic HST threshold should be around $750,000. The B.C. Real Estate Association even goes ahead and indicates that the BC Government should actually phase out the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) to help affordability in real estate. With the outlook that interest rates are certainly rising later in the year into 2010, the B.C. housing market is due for a fallout once the BC Harmonized Sales Tax takes into effect. Some analysts also predict that the new BC housing market will peak sometime in May or June 2010 as new homebuyers seeking new homes in B.C. and Greater Vancouver will likely make their purchase before the 12% HST tax burden hits in July … and with the BC Government and Bank of Canada likely to keep their promise at keeping their prime lending rate at 0.25% (and the major banks keeping their prime rates at 2.25%) until June 30, 2010, there really will be a rush in new home construction and purchases during that time period. Basically, the new B.C. HST is a tax that will be passed through the businesses to the consumers, so in the end, British Columbia homebuyers will be the hardest hit.

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