1.Home Buyers’ Plan

Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time.


For more information go to Canada Revenue Agency at www.cra.gc.ca

Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box or call 1.800.959.8287


2. GST Rebate on New Homes

New home buyers can apply for a rebate for the 5 per cent GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36 per cent of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. At $450,000 and above the rebate is nil.


For more information call 1.800.959.8287 or go to Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca and enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box.


3. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’Program

Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1 per cent on the first $200,000 and 2 per cent on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $500,000. At $450,000 and above the rebate is nil.


For more information go to BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue at www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/business/Property_Taxes/Property_Transfer_Tax/ptt.htm or call 250.387.0604.


4. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15 per cent in 2012) x $5,000. For the 2013 tax year, the maximum credit is $750.


For more information go to Canada Revenue Agency at www.cra-arc.gc.ca or call 1.800.959.8281.


5. B.C. Home Owner Grant

Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,100,000. The basic grant gives home owners:


• a maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts;

• an additional grant of $200 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province; and

• an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.


For more information go to BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue at www.rev.gov.bc.ca/hog or contact your municipal tax office.


6. B.C. Property Tax Deferment Programs

Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.


Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.


Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying low-income home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.


For more information go to www.sbr.gov.bc.ca.


7. Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) Grants

This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low-income home owners to repair substandard housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites.


For more information go to www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca or call 1.800.668.2642.


8. Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)

A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer.


For more information go to BC Housing at www.bchousing.org/Options/Home_Renovations or call 604.646.7055 or toll-free 1.800.407.7757 extension 7055.


9. CMHC Mortgage Loan InsurancePremium Refund

Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10 per cent premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations.


For more information go to www.cmhc.ca or call 604.731.5733.


10. Energy Saving Mortgages

Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account.


For more information go to www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/mortgages or call 1.800.769.2511.


11. Low Interest Renovation Loans

Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. VanCity’s Bright Ideas personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1 per cent for up to 10 years for ‘green’ renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1 per cent off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000.


For information visit your financial institution.For more information go to www.vancity.com/Loans/TypesOfLoans/BrightIdeas and www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/personalloans/energy-saver-loan.html


12. B.C. Hydro Appliance Rebates

Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators or freezers.


For more information go to www.bchydro.com/powersmart or call 1.800.224.9376.


13. B.C. Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program

This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges in working condition.


For more information go to www.bchydro.com/powersmart or call 604.881.4357.

14. FortisBC Rebate Program

A range of rebates for home owners include a $75 rebate for upgrading to an ENERGY STAR clothes washer, $300 rebate on an Ener-Choice fireplace and a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system.


For more information go to www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/Homes/Offers/Pages/default.aspx or call 1.888.224.2710.


15. FortisBC Rebate Program for Businesses

For commercial buildings, provides a rebate of up to $60,000 for the purchase of an energy efficient boiler, up to $15,000 for the purchase of a high-efficiency water heater and receive funding towards a new construction energy study.


For more information go to www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/Business/Offers/Pages/default.aspx or call 1.866.884.8833.


16. LiveSmartBC Small Business Program

Business Energy Advisors (BEAs) delivers free energy assessments. Help business owners tap into available product incentives and cash rebates for lighting, hot water, heating and ventilation improvements. Help business owners coordinate product installation. NOTE: this program expires March 31, 2014.


For more information go to www.livesmartbc.ca/incentives/small-business/index.html or call 1-866-430-8765.


17. City of Vancouver Rain Barrel Subsidy Program

The City of Vancouver provides a subsidy of 50 per cent of the cost of a rain barrel for Vancouver residents. With the subsidy, the rain barrel costs $75. Buy your rain barrel at the Transfer Station at 377 W. North Kent Ave., Vancouver, BC. Limit of two per resident. Bring proof of residency. There is also a limited time offer for short rain barrels for small yards. Cost $50.

For more information go

to http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/watersewers/water/conservation/programs/rainbarrel.htm or call 604.736.2250.


Other municipalities have similar offers.


18. Local Government Water Conservation Incentives

Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water. For example, the City of Coquitlam offers residents a $100 rebate and the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet.


Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.

19.Local Government Water Meter Programs

Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Delta, Richmond and Surrey have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.


Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.


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For Vancouver home buyers who get the shivers at high prices for

even run-down houses, there is also the haunting sight of a tax goblin.


The B.C. government’s property-transfer tax has become a growing burden for buyers in the Vancouver region’s housing market over the past 27 years. The province introduced the PTT as a way to generate revenue, especially targeting the upper crust of B.C. house purchasers.


But the province-wide formula for the tax hasn’t changed since 1987, when Vancouver-area homes were much cheaper. Today, on the purchase of a $5-million home, the buyer has to pay $98,000 for the PTT. On a $2-million home, the tax rings in at $38,000, and on a $1-million property, the extra outlay is $18,000.


The B.C. government collected $937-million in the 2013-14 fiscal year from the tax. Housing industry observers note that the province’s coffers get an added lift when wealthy buyers, including those offshore, acquire high-end homes.


The PTT formula works like this: On the initial $200,000 of the purchase price, the home buyer must fork over 1 per cent of that first tier and then pay a 2-per-cent tax rate on the amount above $200,000.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver estimates that 96 per cent of properties in the region sold for at least $200,000 last year. That contrasts sharply with 5 per cent of properties in 1987 that changed hands for $200,000 or higher.


Far from being a targeted tax on the wealthy, the PTT’s net captures the vast majority of buyers of detached homes, townhouses and condos in Greater Vancouver, the board argues.


In this past February’s provincial budget, the B.C. Liberal government announced an improved break for eligible first-time home buyers. Those who qualify could save up to $7,500 on buying their first house, as long as that property is acquired for $475,000 or less, up from the previous threshold of $425,000.


B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong tweaked one aspect of the broader tax system in February to make up for the revenue lost from giving tax relief to some first-time home buyers. The province decreased the threshold for phasing out the homeowner grant from $1.295-million to $1.1-million in a property’s assessed value, effective the 2014 tax year. In short, the change means that more homeowners will be paying higher municipal property taxes annually.


Despite the tax burden, housing demand remains robust in Vancouver, says Dan Scarrow, vice-president of corporate strategy at Macdonald Realty Group.


Mr. Scarrow doesn’t see a Vancouver housing bubble because many existing homeowners have lived in their abodes for at least 15 years, before the sharp run-up in prices. With small or non-existent mortgages, there isn’t financial pressure on those long-time homeowners to sell, and they can afford to hold out for higher offers when they do decide to move for whatever reason, he reckons.


“It comes down to huge demand globally and restricted supply locally,” Mr. Scarrow says.

The benchmark home price index last month hit a record $633,500 for detached homes, townhouses and condos sold in Greater Vancouver, which includes suburbs such as Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam. On Vancouver’s west side in September, the index hit a record of nearly $2.3-million for detached properties.


Having grown accustomed to a cash cow, the B.C. government isn’t about to dramatically revise the PTT formula any time soon. The province conservatively forecasts that revenue from the PTT will be $854-million in 2014-15. That would be down 9 per cent from the previous fiscal year but still more than double the revenue garnered in 2002-03. From the province’s viewpoint, the tried-and-true PTT isn’t a scary trick, but a valuable treat inside its revenue bag.

Source: Globe & Mail

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I have listed a new property at 3540 GALIANO DR in Abbotsford.
Great family home in a high demand neighborhood with a legal suite! This home offers 6 beds and 4 FULL baths. Totally renovated inside including new laminate flooring, kitchen remodeled; with new cabinets and flooring, reno'd baths; withnew toilets, granite countertops and more, and recently painted inside and out! $1150 rental income from the suite is a great help. Call today to schedule your viewing.
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MLS® sales in the Fraser Valley last month saw the most activity for September since 2009, with sales for all housing types rising 10.1 per cent year over year, according to Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) figures released October 2.


Benchmark prices for all housing types fell 0.2 per cent compared with a month earlier but rose 1.3 per cent compared with September 2013.


Ray Werger, FVREB president, said, “An important factor underlying the housing market is consumer confidence and in our region that confidence has been bolstered by the stability of home prices. Since March, the benchmark price of our three main residential property types combined has remained flat, increasing by only 0.6 per cent.


“Long-term, the value of single-family detached homes has increased at a faster pace than it has for attached properties, particularly in areas such as Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Abbotsford where we’ve seen many new townhome and condo developments. The supply of new inventory has affected the price of resale product.”

Sales and Listings

Sales for detached, townhouses and condos reached 1,235 in September, compared with 1,113 in September 2013 and 1,125 in August 2014. Sales in all housing categories were up across the board, both month over month and year over year. Of September sales, 716 were detached houses (compared with 669 last September), 294 were townhouses (compared with 256 last year), and 225 were condos traded hands (up from 188 the year before).


Fraser Valley: What's Up, What's Down

 Sept/Aug 2014Sept 2014/Sept 2013
Overall Home Sales +9.7% +10.1%
- Detached +7.0% +28.1%
- Townhouse +11.4% +14.8%
- Apartment +17.7% +20.2%
New Listings +17.9% +13.7%
Active Listings -2.2% -8.6%

New listings were not only up from August, as expected, but were also up year over year, with 2,306 homes hitting the market last month, compared with 2028 in September 2013.

Active listings on the Fraser Valley market in September stood at 6,551 homes: 3,376 houses, 1,463 townhouses and 1,712 condos.

MLS Benchmark Prices

The combined MLS® Home Price Index benchmark price of all residential property types in September in the Fraser Valley was $433,700, an increase of 1.3 per cent compared with September 2013 but a decline of 0.2 per cent compared with a month earlier.


This slight month-over-month decline was driven by the region's sliding condo prices, which fell to $193,600 in September, a 1.6 per cent month-over-month decrease and a fall of 4.7 per cent year over year.


A single-family detached home in September was $569,800, exactly the same as August 2014 but an increase of 3.1 per cent compared to September 2013, when it was $552,900.


Townhouses were selling for $299,600, an increase of 1.1 per cent compared to $296,200 in September of last year, and in the last six months has increased by 0.8 per cent.


Fraser Valley MLS Benchmark Prices,
% Change

 Sept 2014Aug 2014Sept 2013
Combined $433,700 -0.2% +1.3%
-Detached $569,800 0.0% +3.1%
-Townhouse $299,600 +0.4% +1.1%
-Apartment $193,600 -1.6% -4.7%

See the full report, broken down by all communtities, here.


Source: REW.ca & FVREB.ca

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