The Speculation and Vacancy Tax has come into force for the 2018 tax year, and homeowners can expect to get declaration letters from tomorrow (January 18) until the end of February.
JOANNAH CONNOLLY (GLACIER MEDIA R.E.) All homeowners – not just owners of second or vacation homes – in applicable regions of B.C. can expect to receive a declaration letter. They have until March 31 to complete their declaration and apply for an exemption if applicable.
The declaration will establish whether the home is being used as a primary residence or being rented out at least six months of the year. If one of those requirements is met, the property is exempt from the Speculation and Vacancy Tax. Other exemptions are also applicable for individuals, land under development or corporations.
In most cases, for a non-primary residence that is not rented out at least six months of the year, an annual tax of 0.5 per cent of the home’s assessed value is applicable. Owners who are liable for the tax will have until July 2, 2019 to pay their 2018 bill.
Homeowners who do not complete their declaration, even if their home is exempt from the tax, will receive a tax notice of assessment after April 1 charging the full tax rate.
The affected regions in B.C. are:
· Municipalities in the Capital Regional District, excluding Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area and the Southern Gulf Islands
· Municipalities in the Metro Vancouver Regional District, excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lions Bay and Electoral Area A, but including the University of British Columbia and the University Endowment Lands
· The City of Abbotsford
· The District of Mission
· The City of Chilliwack
· The City of Kelowna
· The City of West Kelowna
· The City of Nanaimo
· The District of Lantzville
Homeowners can go online and complete their declaration here – but you’ll need to wait to get your letter, which will contain a unique ID and a declaration code.
Glacier Media Real Estate
Real EstateB.C.’s average residential sale price will edge up in 2019: Canadian Real Estate Association
JOANNAH CONNOLLY (BIV) - British Columbia is expected to lead a year-over-year decline in home sales in 2019, according to a national real estate forecast released this week, but sales in the province will increase slightly.
The average sale price of a B.C. home sold on the Multiple Listing Service next year will be $720,000 – an increase of 0.9 per cent over 2018’s figure, according to the forecast by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
That’s following a year-over-year increase of 0.6 per cent in 2018 to $713,700 – despite sales plummeting on an annual basis in many of the province’s major markets.
CREA said that, following an overall 24.2 per cent annual decline in home sales across B.C. in 2018, resale transactions would drop in the province by a further 5.2 per cent in 2019. That’s the second-steepest predicted sales drop of all the provinces, after Newfoundland at -7.2 per cent, and a much bigger total volume decline.
This contradicts a B.C. Real Estate Association forecast issued in November, which predicted home sales in the province would bounce back somewhat after a slow 2018.
Across the country next year, CREA predicted that the national average price for a Canadian home sold via the MLS would rise 1.7 per cent to $496,800. Only Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to see a lower average sale price next year compared with 2018.
The association revised its projected national residential sales across 2018 to a decline of 11.8 per cent versus 2017, which is 458,000 homes – the lowest in nine years.
"The national forecast has been revised lower... as an anticipated rebound in sales in British Columbia has so far failed to materialize, the recovery in Ontario sales this summer has now run its course and sales activity in Alberta has edged lower. These developments were partially offset by stronger-than-expected sales activity in Quebec," CREA said in its report.
Next year, the total number of sales in Canada is forecast to decline another 0.5 per cent to 456,000 units.
“In 2019, home sales activity and prices are expected to be held in check by recent policy changes from different levels of government, in addition to additional interest rate increases,” said the association.
While B.C. is set to drive that projected decline in resale transactions, followed by Alberta, Ontario is expected to see a recovery in home sales after a weak 2018, and Quebec is predicted to continue its strong activity.
It appears a city council motion to stop allowing duplexes in a huge swath of Vancouver is on the way to passing, even as the city battles an ongoing housing crisis.
Between the five votes of the Non-Partisan Association, including the mover of the motion, Colleen Hardwick, and Green party leader Adriane Carr, the motion appears to have the votes to overcome opposition from the city’s independent mayor.
Hardwick bristled at suggestions that the motion, which would undo a change by the previous council on the eve of the Vancouver election, would limit housing options for Vancouverites.
“I’m not putting forward any kind of motion against duplexes,” Hardwick told reporters outside the inaugural city council meeting on Tuesday. “I myself live in a duplex. That’s not the point. The point is we have a clean slate now and an opportunity to revisit the way we’re planning for our city based on the actual needs of the community.”
Vancouver’s mayor, Kennedy Stewart, had said during the campaign that he supported allowing duplexes in what had previously been single-family homes.
“We’ll see where we get to tomorrow,” Stewart told reporters. “I was disappointed there wasn’t more consultation, but I did say I would support what the previous council passed. We are in a housing crisis here.”
Vancouver City Council under Gregor Robertson legalized duplexes in some 99 per cent of previously single-family zones in September – a sweeping change to some 67,000 properties. At the time he said the idea was to include homes in the “missing middle” and allow citizens more options between condos and expensive single family homes, which in Vancouver are often more than $2 million.
The motion was to be debated on the same day the B.C. government put almost half a billion dollars to create 4900 subsidized homes across the province, with some 1,100 homes in Vancouver, which got some $110 million in investment.
It doesn’t make sense for Vancouver to limit housing options and preserve legal restrictions that prevent density, said UBC housing economist Tom Davidoff, especially as Vancouver grows.
“One owner for a 3,000 square foot lot is not going to cut it as Vancouver moves forward,” Davidoff said. “To go backwards is a bit of a headscratcher."
Adriane Carr of the Green Party told CTV News that she was voting for the motion because she wants there to be a city-wide plan, which could result in more density even without the duplexes.
“The motion is not about saying no to duplexes. The motion is about saying no to a process, which was a very last-minute addition into a plan without any due public consultation,” she said.
There hasn’t exactly been a stampede of people building duplexes since they were allowed. City staff told CTV News there have been only three applications.
The motion was slated for discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting, but will be delayed until Wednesday. If it passes the change will go to public hearing.
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