In a submission last year to the provincial legislative committee on finance and government services, the B.C. Real Estate Association argued that the harmonized sales tax and the property transfer tax are an “unfair burden on homebuyers”.
While the HST will be abolished by the end of the first quarter of 2013, there are no clear clues about the future of the PTT.
However, the resurgent B.C. Conservative Party is signalling that it would scrap the tax in the long term. That is, if it ever gets to form government.
The party’s position on this matter is laid out in a draft policy paper that will be presented to B.C. Conservatives when they hold their convention in Nanaimo on September 24.
“The Property transfer tax will be reduced then eliminated when economically feasible,” according to the document.
Introduced in 1987, the PTT slaps a one-percent tax on the first $200,000 value of a house, and an additional two percent on the remaining balance.
According to the BCREA, the PTT was brought in at a time when the average home price was $101,916, and the two-percent portion of the tax was expected to apply to only five percent of home sales.
The association noted that in 2009, the average price of a home in the province had jumped to $465,725.
The BCREA suggested an increase in the one-percent threshold of the PTT to $525,000.
In its draft policy paper, the B.C. Conservative Party also devotes a whole section to private property rights. This covers two areas: clarification of property rights and land titles, and reform measures on strata property laws.