First Time Buyer Friday #7 – BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) Exemptions

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at

The home buyer in BC gets shaken for more money
The home buyer in BC gets shaken for more money

Q. What’s this about Provincial tax when I buy a home? How much is the Property Transfer Tax (PTT)?

A. I touched on this briefly in my post about closing costs in BC. The BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT), sometimes known as the Property Purchase Tax (PPT) has been a thorn in the side of home owners since its inception in 1987. BC REALTORS® have been actively lobbying the provincial government to reduce or eliminate the tax, as it places an unfair burden on home buyers.

The BC PTT is calculated on the sale price of the property (or the “fair market value” if the transfer of property is a gift or bequest), at 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance. So, a $500,000 property would incur an $8000 tax in order to change hands. This is money that comes directly out of the pocket of the buyer. It cannot be financed, eating up a nice chunk of a down payment on the purchase.

There is some relief for first-time buyers, however. First-time buyers qualify for an exemption in many cases. You do not have to pay the PTT if you are:

  • a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident as determined by Immigration Canada,
  • a person who has resided in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the date of registration of the transfer, or who has filed two income tax returns as a British Columbia resident within the last six years,
  • a person who has never, at any time, held a registered interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world (a principal residence is defined as the usual place where an individual resides), and
  • a person who has not previously received an FTHB exemption or refund.

The purchase price of the property must not be more than $425,000 to qualify for an exemption. Government has raised the exemption threshold in recent years, reflecting the increase in property prices across the province. For properties between $425,000 and $450,000, a partial exemption applies.

To calculate the partial exemption, you first need to figure out the tax that would be payable without an exemption. Let’s use a $435,000 property as an example. The tax at 1% on the first $200,000 an 2% on the balance on that property would be $6700. Then plug it into this formula:

(Partial exemption max price – purchase price) x Tax = exemption, subtract from tax.
(Partial exemption dollar threshold)

So, for this example,

(450,000 – 435,000) x 6700 = $4020. $6700 – $4020 = $2680 tax payable.

There are several other conditions and details about the PTT exemption, that are covered in this PTT Brochure.

If you have any questions about the PTT or any other real estate matter, please contact me at 250-885-0512, e-mail me at or use my contact form.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Published by Tim Ayres

Tim Ayres is a Sooke and Victoria BC REALTOR®, with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty. Tim is actively involved in helping clients buying and selling real estate in the southern Vancouver Island region. Tim is an active member of the Victoria Real Estate Board and served seven years (2009-2015) as a director, including serving as President in 2014.

One thought on “First Time Buyer Friday #7 – BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) Exemptions

  1. We just found out the hard way that first time home BUILDERS are also exempt. My son did an owner-build on a lot which I had signed over to him. They made me pay transfer tax on the full value, because land does not qualify for family exemption. Then I found out by accident a couple years later that he could have signed up for the first time home owner program and applied for a rebate of the transfer tax on the land once he got his house finished. By then it was too late for us to get the tax back. So if you are building your first house and paid PTT on the land, get down there and sign up for the first time home owner program!

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