HST Transition and BC First Time Home Buyers Assistance

Help for New Home Purchasers
We are analyzing the implications of both the HST Transition and BC First-Time New Home Buyers announcements, and there are still many unresolved details.  Here is what we know so far:

Effective April 1, 2012, the government will substantially increase the BC Harmonized Sales Tax rebate threshold for new homes purchased as primary residences to $850,000 (from $525,000), and create a grant of up to $42,500 for newly-constructed secondary homes (purchased outside the GVRD and CRD) where no grant has existed before.

The temporary BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ bonus announced in the budget on February 21 will also provide additional support for buyers who need it the most. This applies to both newly constructed residences and those that have been 90% renovated.
Overall, the benefit to buyers of new homes and people who work in the real estate sector is obvious. Perhaps less apparent is the fact that real estate sales generate significant additional spending and taxes, driving activity throughout the provincial economy.

Now that the rules for transition back to a Provincial Sales Tax/Goods and Services Tax system have been published, and the transition dates set, buyers of new homes, REALTORS®, builders and developers will have more confidence and the freedom to transact business.


Questions and Answers


Question #1 – Is the “bonus/grant” for first-time buyers to be paid by tax credit or cheque?


Answer – The purchaser will have to fill out an application form which will be available on the Ministry of Finance website later this year. Application forms will need to be completed and sent to the BC Ministry of Finance for processing. The bonus will be issued as a separate chequefrom the BC Ministry of Finance.  The BC Ministry of Finance will be issuing the refund.


Please see the attached link for additional information on the Ministry of Finance website:
Here you will find information on the bonus as well as some other frequently asked questions.


Question #2 –How can buyers confirm the amount of money they will be eligible to receive, or is it just a guessing game until the application is approved?


Answer –The attached Fact Sheet from the BC Ministry of Finance indicates that the “bonus” for first-time buyers is “equal to 5% of the purchase price of the home (or in the case of owner-built homes, 5% of the land and construction costs subject to HST) to a maximum of $10,000.”


Question #3 – What about HST phase out on real estate commissions?


Answer – The tax structure on real estate commissions will not change until April 1, 2013 when the return to the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) regime is fully implemented, and then only the GST will apply to those goods and services that were exempt from PST prior to July 1, 2010. This was confirmed for BCREA by Hon. Kevin Falcon in early October 2011.


Online Resources

· BC Government Return to PST website:

· BC Government HST Transition news release:

BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus fact sheet:


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