First-time buyers of new homes could save thousands

BY JOHN BECKER, THE TIMES JUNE 28, 2012

We’re seeing some beautiful new real estate developments in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows area, and many are at a variety of prices to suit a wide range of purchasers.

Whatever you choose, purchasing a home is expensive so it’s nice to save on government-offered programs whenever you can.

Some buyers will qualify for the first-time home buyers’ exemption from property transfer tax, but now there is another way to save.

The BC First-Time, New Home Buyers’ Bonus is a new time-limited program that could save you thousands of dollars.

Purchases of new homes made between Feb. 21, 2012 and March 31, 2013 by first-time buyers in B.C. can receive a one-time bonus payment worth up to $10,000.

The bonus is equal to five per cent of the purchase price (not including HST) up to a maximum of $10,000.

The bonus is scaled back for higher-income earners, but it’s still worthwhile investigating. The savings could help you hire movers, decorate your new home, take care of some mortgage payments, or be used in other useful ways.

You can apply directly to the BC Ministry of Finance for the bonus any time after you have taken ownership or possession of your home, provided you meet all the eligibility criteria.

How to qualify for the bonus:

The criteria for eligibility centres largely on two main factors: you are a new B.C.-resident homeowner and that the home is newly constructed or substantially (90 per cent) renovated.

More specifically, you will qualify if:

• You purchase or build an eligible new home located in B.C.

• You intend to live in the house as a primary residence.

• You, or for couples, you and your spouse or common-law partner, have never previously owned a primary residence anywhere in the world.

• In the case of multiple buyers of a home, each buyer must be a first-time home buyer having never owned a primary residence anywhere in the world.

• You file a B.C. resident personal income tax return, or if you move to B.C. after Dec. 31, 2011, you file a 2012 B.C. resident personal income tax return. Individuals or families who move to B.C. after Dec. 31, 2012 will not be eligible.

• You must be eligible for the B.C. HST New Housing Rebate.

• No one else has claimed the bonus in respect of the home.

Remember, new and old homes still require conveyancing services to ensure your real estate sale or purchase is legally complete. Contact your lawyer for details.

For more information on this program, visit http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/individuals/Income_Taxes/Personal_Income_Tax/tax_credits/fthb_bonus.htm or search the ministry website for “first-time buyers” and choose the first result among the search results. Enjoy your new home.

– John Becker is the senior lawyer at, Becker & Company, in Pitt Meadows. John has been a lawyer for more than 30 years, and now focuses his practice on corporate and commercial law, real estate and business succession planning. Send questions to: info@beckerlawyers.ca

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