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First Time Home Buyers

When you buy your first house or a condo in British Columbia, you may claim an exemption from Property Transfer Tax if you meet the following requirements:

The fair market value of the home is less than the threshold amount.

To qualify for a full exemption, at the time the property is registered it must:

  • be located in B.C.
  • only be used as your principal residence
  • have a fair market value of $500,000 or less
  • be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller.


You may qualify for a partial exemption from the tax if the property:

  • has a fair market value less than $525,000;
  • is larger than 0.5 hectares;
  • has another building on the property other than the principal residence.

Other Requirements

To qualify for the First Time Home Buyers’ exemption you must meet all of the initial eligibility criteria. To retain the exemption, there are also requirements which must be met in the year following the transfer.

You qualify as a first time home buyer if:

  • you are a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,
  • you have lived in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property, or you have filed 2 income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the date you register the property,
  • you have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time (a principal residence is the usual place where an individual lives), and
  • you have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund.

If you don’t qualify because you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you become one within 12 months of when the property is registered, you may apply for a refund of the tax.

Penalty for False Declaration

If you are claiming an exemption or refund, you may be charged an amount equal to double the tax (the tax you owe plus a penalty equal to the exemption or refund you claimed) if you falsely declare:

  • that you have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time, or
  • that you have never received a BC first time home buyers’ tax exemption or refund.

Requirements During the First Year of Ownership

The ministry will send you a letter at the end of the first year you own the property to confirm that you meet the requirements for occupancy.