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BC government raises homeowner grant by 33%

DH Vancouver Staff Jan 10, 2017 5:00 am 3,505

In an effort to help “keep property taxes affordable for families,” the BC government is is increasing the home owner grant threshold to $1.6 million, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced Tuesday.

“This is a 33% increase over last year,” said de Jong. “We are doing our part to help keep housing costs affordable for families.

The Province is projected to spend $821 million on home owner grants in 2017-18, compared to an estimated $809 million in 2016-17.

Local governments can also work to keep property taxes at a manageable level for residents by controlling their spending and reigning in the amount of revenue they need to operate, de Jong added.

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“The threshold increase to $1.6 million helps ensure virtually everyone who received the grant last year will also receive it in 2017,” he said. “The strength of the province’s economy and sound fiscal management have put us in a position to raise the threshold by such a large amount this year to help home owners.”

The increase means that province-wide, 91% of homes will remain below the threshold and if eligible, their owners will receive the full grant amount.

In Metro Vancouver, 83% of homes will be below the threshold.

For properties assessed above this threshold, the grant is reduced by $5 for every $1,000 of assessed value in excess of the threshold.

Two types of grants

  • The basic grant can reduce residential property taxes on an owner’s principal residence by up to $570, or if the home is located in a northern and rural area, up to $770.
  • An additional grant is available to homeowners 65 years of age or older, or who qualify under the persons with disabilities category, or who are the surviving spouse of a veteran who received certain war-veteran allowances. This additional grant can reduce residential property taxes on an owner’s principal residence by up to $845, or if the home is located in a northern and rural area, up to $1,045.

Low income supplements

Low-income homeowners who would have received the additional homeowner grant can apply for a low-income supplement, which replaces any reduction in the grant caused by having a property valued over the threshold. The low-income supplement is available to qualifying seniors, certain veterans or their surviving spouse and persons with disabilities.

Property tax deferment is another option. Property tax deferment is a low-interest loan program that allows qualifying BC homeowners to use the equity in their homes to defer payment of their annual property taxes.

Qualifying homeowners can defer all, or a portion of, the annual property taxes on their principal residence.

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DH Vancouver Staff
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