RESOURCES

First Time Home Buyers’ Program

The First Time Home Buyers’ Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption from the tax.

If one or more of the purchasers don’t qualify, only the percentage of interest that the first time home buyer(s) have in the property is eligible.

For example, if you qualify and purchase a property with a fair market value of $400,000 with a person who doesn’t qualify you would still qualify. If you owned a 60% interest in the property, 60% of the tax amount would be eligible for the exemption.

Do I Qualify?

To qualify for a full exemption, at the time the property is registered you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
  • have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
  • have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund

and the property must:

  • be located in B.C.
  • only be used as your principal residence
  • have a fair market value of:
    • $475,000 or less if registered on or before February 21, 2017, or
    • $500,000 or less if registered on or after February 22, 2017
  • be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller

You may qualify for a partial exemption from the tax if the property:

Find out the amount of your exemption if you qualify.

Foreign entities and taxable trustees are not eligible for the exemption. If you are an individual who doesn’t qualify because you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you become one within 12 months of when the property is registered, you may apply for a refund of the property transfer tax. To apply for a property transfer tax refund in this case, call 250 387-0555.

Find out if you are eligible to claim a refund of any additional property transfer tax you may have paid.

Apply

To apply for the First Time Home Buyers’ Program, select or enter exemption code FTH on the Property Transfer Tax Return.

After you have applied you must meet additional requirements during the first year you own the property to keep the tax exemption.

Penalty for False Declaration

All applications are reviewed. You will be charged a penalty equal to double the tax if you falsely declare that:

  • you have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time, or
  • you have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund

Existing Home

To keep the tax exemption you must have:

  • moved into your home within 92 days of the date the property was registered
  • continued to occupy the property as your principal residence for the remainder of the first year

You may keep part of the exemption if you moved out before the end of the first year.

If the owner passed away, or the property is transferred because of a separation agreement or a court order under the Family Law Act before the end of the first year, you still qualify to keep the tax exemption.

Built New Home

If you registered a vacant lot and built your own home, to keep the tax exemption:

  • the fair market value of the land when you registered the property plus the cost to build your home must be:
    • $500,000 or less if registered on or before February 21, 2017, or
    • $525,000 or less if registered on or after February 22, 2017
  • you must have built and moved into your home within 1 year of the date the property was registered
  • you must have continued to occupy the property as your principal residence for the remainder of the first year

You may keep part of the exemption if you moved out before the end of the first year.

If the owner passed away, or the property is transferred because of a separation agreement or a court order under the Family Law Act before the end of the first year, you still qualify to keep the tax exemption.

Refunds

To apply for a refund:

  1. Complete, print and sign the First Time Home Buyers’ Application for Refund (FIN 265) (PDF)

  2. Scan the completed form and any required supporting documentation and either:

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive helps first-time homebuyers without adding to their financial burdens. Eligible first-time homebuyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage can apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada. Visit the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive for more details.

Home Buyers’ Amount

To assist first-time homebuyers with the costs associated with the purchase of a home, including legal fees, disbursements and land transfer taxes, the Government of Canada introduced a tax credit for first-time homebuyers in 2009. It represents a $5,000 non-refundable income tax credit amount on a qualifying home acquired during the year. For an eligible individual, the credit will provide up to $750 in federal tax relief. To find out if you are eligible, please visit the Home Buyers’ Amount webpage.

Home Buyers’ Plan

This plan allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 in a calendar year from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability. Review the Home Buyers’ Plan for more information.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate

You may qualify for this rebate allowing to recover part of the GST or HST that you paid on the purchase price or cost of building your new house, on the cost of substantially renovating or building a major addition onto your existing house, or on converting a non-residential property into a house. GST/HST New Housing provides all of the details on this rebate.

Looking for more homebuying information?

Take a moment to browse through our wealth of homebuying information. You’ll find everything you need, from mortgage calculators, to home hunting worksheets.

CMHC provides mortgage loan insurance. This lets you buy a home with a minimum down payment starting at 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Ask your mortgage professional about CMHC.

The information is provided by CMHC for general illustrative purposes only. It doesn’t take into account the specific objectives, circumstances and individual needs of the reader. It does not provide advice, and should not be relied upon in that regard. The information is believed to be reliable, but its accuracy, completeness and currency cannot be guaranteed. Neither CMHC and its employees nor any other party identified in this Article (Lender, Broker, etc.) assumes any liability of any kind in connection with the information provided. CMHC stakeholders are permitted to distribute the materials at their expense. The above mentioned stakeholder organization is responsible for the distribution of this document.

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