The province is increasing the home owner grant threshold to $1.6 million, to help offset massive property assessment increase, primarily in the Lower Mainland.
It’s a 33 per cent increase over last year.
The province is projected to spend $821 million on home owner grants in 2017-18, compared to an estimated $809 million in 2016-17. The province reimburses municipalities for the full cost of the home owner grant to ensure municipal revenues are not affected.
The increase to the 2017 home owner grant threshold means that province-wide, 91 per cent of homes will remain below the threshold and if eligible, their owners will receive the full grant amount. In many communities throughout the province, most or all homes are covered by the threshold. In Metro Vancouver, 83 per cent 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.
There are two types of home owner 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 home owners 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 home owners who would have received the additional home owner 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 that can help make home ownership more affordable. Property tax deferment is a low-interest loan program that allows qualifying B.C. home owners to use the equity in their homes to defer payment of their annual property taxes. Qualifying home owners can defer all, or a portion of, the annual property taxes on their principal residence.