By all reports, homelessness has reached a critical stage in Canada and B.C. is no exception.
Part of the problem is the lack of affordable housing created in large part by the inflated price of real estate. Accordingly, unless (someone) have won the Lotto 649 jackpot, or family can help financially, entering the housing market for the first-time buyer entails raking up a substantial downpayment and assuming a huge mortgage.
Rather than trying to ease this burden, the B.C. government imposes an additional financial burden in the form of a Land Transfer Tax. Currently there is an exemption of this tax for the purchase of real estate priced at $500,000 or less.
But come on! Just look at a real estate brochure. What can a young family get for that money, especially in urban areas? The purchase of a $700,000 home incurs a tax of $12,000 that must be paid at the time of signing for the purchase.
Most real estate suitable for a family is way beyond that price—often exceeding $1 million, and the tax increases accordingly.
If the B.C. government is serious about making housing more affordable, it should help by eliminating the Land Transfer Tax for Canadian citizens living in B.C., or at least raise the exemption limit to a more reasonable level for first-time home buyers.
Michael Ludlam, West Kelowna