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Removal of Property Transfer Tax suggested for first time Vancouver homebuyers

Owning a home in Vancouver can often feel unattainable for first time buyers.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) is calling on the provincial government to make policy changes to help with affordability.

The board met with a provincial legislative committee this week to present a list of changes to help ease the burden of house hunters.

One suggestion states the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) should be removed on any home costing under $755,000 for both new construction and resale.

Dylan Passmor has been looking to buy his first home for more than a year and could qualify if the PTT removal was implemented.

"It's a really challenging time, affordability just seems to be getting worse,” he said.

While he’s happy advocates are pushing for policy changes, he says the recommendations don’t reflect the price tags he’s seeing on the market.

"We're looking at two bedrooms and it's hard to find under $800,000 and that's a pretty average, if not a below average living environment."

According to B.C.’s latest budget, the province made $2.2 billion dollars this fiscal year in property transfer tax revenue.

“You could look at this and say, ‘Should there even be a threshold? If we're talking about getting first time buyers into the market, why does it really matter?’ We're trying to be reasonable and give the government something they can work with,” said Andrew Lis, the director of economics of the REBGV.

"The government is out there saying, ‘Hey, we want to do everything we can do move the needle on affordability.’ And here's something they already have in place, it's a program that already exists,” Lis continued.

Without any meaningful change, people like Passmor will continue watching.

"Prices have softened a little, but I think with the interest rates having gone up with the way they did, I think that affordability is actually worse than what it was,” said Passmor.

The board’s recommendations also suggest exemptions for the flipping tax, so it does not penalize those who are most likely to move. It also recommends new homes be exempted from the tax and that the framework does not discourage investment in secondary suites.

As for rental supply, the board suggests creating a provincial rebate program for the GST required on new rental construction. It also requests an “ultra-low-cost” loan program be created for rental property developers. Top Stories

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