Here’s why B.C. is so fond of the property transfer tax

A tax on changes to property title, which many in real estate argue to be antiquated and burdensome, has become a major windfall for the provincial government

When the B.C. government introduced the property transfer tax in the late ’80s—and started collecting a percentage on each home sold—it was a way to catch a little wind from the property boom. Almost 30 years on, groups like the B.C. Real Estate Association would like to see the tax axed, arguing that it contributes to housing unaffordability and that its rates are out of sync with today’s market. While Premier Christy Clark has mused about scrapping the tax eventually, her finance minister, Mike de Jong, has conversely suggested that increasing the tax could dampen speculative investments. And in the 2016 budget, that’s what the province did: buyers of homes priced $2 million or more (the Westside Vancouver average) will now have to pay 3 per cent to change the name on the title. You can read more about the changes here.