BC Government Presents Stay-The-Course Budget

Feb 25, 2020

Posted by
Matt Mayers
Senior Policy Analyst


BC’s Budget 2020 offers some new investments to assist homeowners and their communities, but falls short of substantial changes to improve housing affordability.

We’re pleased by the promise of an additional $419 million investment over three years to support CleanBC for home and workplace electric vehicle charging stations and new pilot programs to further reduce carbon emissions. An additional $195 million will also be invested over three years to help communities better respond to and recover from wildfires, floods and other emergencies.

These are the highlights of the few budget items related to housing:

  • an additional $118 million in operating funding and $56 million in capital funding to support BC’s housing strategy. This will result in a planned $1.1 billion in total capital funding to support housing and homelessness initiatives over the next three years,
  • a new exemption to the Property Transfer Tax that will be introduced for qualifying Canadian-controlled limited partnerships. Effective on royal assent, the Property Transfer Tax Act is amended to clarify the calculation of partial principal residence exemptions where the land is greater than 0.5 hectares or the property includes non-residential improvements, and
  • amendments to the Land Tax Deferment Act to centralize program administration within the Ministry of Finance, effective May 1, 2020.

In BCREA’s response to the Budget 2020 consultation, we recommend fairness and effectiveness in provincial property taxes, such as increasing the First-Time Home Buyers’ Program Property Transfer Tax exemption threshold to $750,000 from $500,000. We also recommend more policies to help increase housing supply, such as exempting properties in the development process from the additional school tax using the same policy framework created to exempt development projects from the Speculation and Vacancy Tax. 

We will continue to advocate for housing affordability solutions through our submission to the Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability in April.

More government information on BC Budget 2020: https://bit.ly/2vGSXGa.

Photo: Minister Carole James delivers the 2020 Budget to stakeholders and journalists (Courtesy of Province of British Columbia/Flickr)

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