First time buyers
Buying your first home can be exciting and intimidating all at once. There's so much to know, so much to decide. At Best Mortgages Vancouver, we take the worry out of home financing and give you the information you need to make the best move.

Get started on making your dream of home ownership come true by taking the first step. Get pre-approved today! Obtaining a pre-approved mortgage is one of the first steps towards home ownership and costs you nothing. With a pre-approved mortgage you will:

  • Know how much you can afford and what your payments will be
  • Lock in your interest rate at today's rate (or lower if rates drop), guaranteed for up to 120 days
  • Demonstrate that you are a serious buyer, which can help in your negotiations with sellers and their agents

B.C. First-Time New Home Buyers' Bonus

New provincial government incentives, along with a forecasted balanced market and continued strong housing starts, will support home purchases in 2017, especially by first-time home buyers.

First, the new B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership (BC HOME Partnership) program kicks in on Jan. 16. This new, three-year, $700-million initiative gives a hand-up to first-time home buyers by contributing to the amount they have saved for a mortgage down payment. Up to $37,500, or up to 5% of the purchase price, will be provided to qualifying first-time buyers through a 25-year mortgage loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.

On top of the BC HOME Partnership program, other existing programs are available to help first-time buyers. This means instead of renting, families will now be able build their own equity in the housing market.

First-time home buyers can save up to $7,500 when purchasing a home valued up to $475,000 through the First Time Home Buyers Program, which exempts them from paying the property transfer tax. Or they can access the Newly Built Homes Exemption, which can help them save up to $13,000 in property transfer tax when purchasing a newly constructed or subdivided home worth up to $750,000.

 

The B.C. First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus is a one-time payment worth up to $10,000.
 
B.C. residents who are first-time home buyers and who purchase an eligible new home on or after February 21, 2012 and before April 1, 2013 may be eligible for this bonus. 

A first-time home buyer is an individual who has never previously owned a primary residence anywhere in the world.

A primary residence is generally a house that you own, jointly or otherwise, and that you intend to live in on a permanent basis. You may have more than one place of residence, but you are considered to have only one primary residence.

BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT)

Home buyers in BC pay a provincial Property Transfer Tax (PPT) when they buy a home. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the remainder.

First-time home buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil.

 


 

First Time Home Buyers' Program

The First Time Home Buyers' Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption from the tax.

If one or more of the purchasers don’t qualify, only the percentage of interest that the first time home buyer(s) have in the property is eligible.

For example, if you qualify and purchase a property with a fair market value of $400,000 with a person that doesn’t qualify you would still qualify. If you owned a 60% interest in the property, 60% of the tax amount would be eligible for the exemption.

Do I Qualify?

To qualify for a full exemption (PDF), at the time the property is registered you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
  • have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time 
  • you have never received a first time home buyers' exemption or refund

and the property must:

  • be located in B.C.
  • only be used as your principal residence
  • have a fair market value of: 
    • $425,000 or less if registered on or before February 18, 2014, or
    • $475,000 or less if registered on or after February 19, 2014
  • be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller

You may qualify for a partial exemption (PDF) from the tax if the property:

  • has a fair market value less than: 
    • $450,000 if registered on or before February 18, 2014, or
    • $500,000 if registered on or after February 19, 2014
  • is larger than 0.5 hectares
  • has another building on the property other than the principal residence

If you don’t qualify because you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you become one within 12 months of when the property is registered, you may apply for a refund of the tax. To apply for a refund call (250) 387-0604.

Apply

To apply for the First Time Home Buyers' Program you need to complete the First Time Home Buyers' Property Transfer Tax Return when you or your legal professional register the property transfer.

After you have applied you must meet additional requirements during the first year you own the property to keep the tax exemption.

Penalty for False Declaration

All applications are reviewed. You will be charged a penalty equal to double the tax if you falsely declare that:

  • you have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time, or
  • you have never received a first time home buyers' exemption or refund

First Year of Ownership

At the end of the first year you own the property you will receive a letter. The letter is to conditionally confirm that you meet the occupancy and property value requirements after you:

Existing Home

To keep the tax exemption you must have:

  • moved into your home within 92 days of the date the property was registered
  • continued to occupy the property as your principal residence for the remainder of the first year

You may keep part of the exemption if you moved out before the end of the first year.

If the owner passed away, or the property is transferred because of a separation agreement or a court order under the Family Law Act before the end of the first year, you still qualify to keep the tax exemption.

Built New Home

If you registered a vacant lot and built your own home, to keep the tax exemption:

  • the fair market value of the land when you registered the property plus the cost to build your home must be:
    • $450,000 or less if registered on or before February 18, 2014, or
    • $500,000 or less if registered on or after February 19, 2014
  • you must have built and moved into your home within 1 year of the date the property was registered
  • you must have continued to occupy the property as your principal residence for the remainder of the first year

You may keep part of the exemption if you moved out before the end of the first year.

If the owner passed away, or the property is transferred because of a separation agreement or a court order under the Family Law Act before the end of the first year, you still qualify to keep the tax exemption.