BIV: B.C. government increases homeowner grant threshold to $1.6 million

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January 10, 2017 | Mike Howell

Quoted from the article:

David Eby, NDP MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey and his party’s housing critic, said he was startled the threshold was so low for so long, noting it was at $1.1 million in 2014, despite the skyrocketing price of real estate in the province.

“The only surprise to me was it took so long for the government to do this,” Eby told the Courier. “But, clearly, when people started to receive their [property value] assessments, and started calling their MLAs during an election year, that wasn’t going to be feasible.”

The ruling Liberals are heading into an election campaign, where the province’s affordability crisis is expected to be one of the main issues on voters’ minds as they head to the polls in May.

While Eby acknowledged a grant of $570 to offset property taxes on residential properties assessed at more than $1 million may seem like small change for some homeowners, the reality is that selling a property in Vancouver to buy another doesn’t get a person any further ahead.

Many homeowners have also leveraged themselves to the point where the homeowner’s grant could be a breaking point, he said, adding that selling to rent is also problematic, with the rental vacancy rate at below one per cent.

“Sure, you can sell your house, but where are you going to go?” Eby said. “It’s a nice idea that maybe you could borrow against the value of your house, but every economist is saying that our housing market is due for a correction. So you could find yourself under water in a hurry.”

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