Blog › February 2014

BC Budget raises limit on First-Time Homebuyer Exemption


I'm sure you have heard by now, but the BC Government changed the rules for FTHB PTT exemption.  In short:

1.  The full exemption is allowed for purchase prices up to $475,000. 
2.  Between $475,000 and $500,000, there is a sliding scale on the exemption amount; and
3.  Over $500,000, no exemption exists.

You can follow this link for the new web link published by BC Government:


A special thanks to Deb Christie and Phyllis Stelting for hounding me about how to determine if a strata lot can be rented or not!  May I just recommend, do NOT cross these women!  They are persistent!

Because you asked, Thomas Clifford, our wonderful DBM articling student, has prepared some information on how to find out if a strata lot can be rented or not.  This is not for the weak of heart.  This issue of the newsletter contains caselaw, legislation, inappropriate language and pictures of turtles from my trip to Costa Rica (just checking if you are still with me).  

As always, this will be posted to our website in about a week, and available for future reference.  Here's the link:

If you have any further questions, please feel free to direct them at Thomas or me.  We can be reached at 604 939 8321.

Contact: [email protected]

45,000 more rich Chinese waiting to move to Vancouver

Over 60pc seeking Canadian wealthy investor visa are from China and want to live in British Columbia’s main city, data shows

A South China Morning Post investigation into Canada’s immigration programme for millionaire investors has revealed the extraordinary extent to which it has become devoted to a single outcome: Helping rich mainland Chinese settle in Vancouver.

Immigration Department data obtained by the Post suggests there was a backlog of more than 45,000 rich Chinese waiting for approval of their applications to move to British Columbia as of January last year. They are estimated to have a minimum combined wealth of C$12.9 billion (HK$90 billion).

The Chinese queue for British Columbia under the scheme – which halted new applications to deal with the backlog in 2012 – is about six times the combined annual applications from all nationalities to the investor migrant programmes run by the US, Britain and Australia. It also holds more than twice as many Chinese immigrants as have moved to the province under the federal investor visa scheme from 2008 to 2012. This suggests the queue could sustain the current pace of millionaire migration to the city for a decade to come, even if applications remain frozen.

Ottawa has vowed that the applications will be processed and few are typically rejected.

The queue of millionaires at Vancouver’s doorstep has major implications in a city where housing is rated the second-least affordable in the world, behind Hong Kong. Census data shows 96 per cent of all recent Chinese immigrants to British Columbia live in greater Vancouver and the proportion among the wealthy is even higher.

Kerry Starchuk is a lifelong resident of the Vancouver satellite city of Richmond, the most Chinese city in the western hemisphere and a favoured destination of wealthy mainland Chinese. She fears the potential impact of the visa queue.

“Money is taking precedence over everything,” said Starchuk, 56, who has campaigned for increased English signage in Richmond. “It’s taking over the social fabric, Canadian culture … You can see [the wealth disparity] in the houses that are being built – it’s no longer a single-family home, it’s a mansion with gates and security.”

The Post’s estimates are conservative, since they do not include Chinese who enter via a separate investor immigrant programme run by Quebec, 90 per cent of whose arrivals eventually end up living elsewhere in Canada.

Money is taking precedence over everything. It’s taking over the social fabric


Ottawa has pledged to process the backlog of federal applications. Under the scheme’s current rules, principal applicants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million must loan the Canadian government C$800,000, interest-free, for five years. They and family members can later apply for citizenship.

The overall queue for federal investor visas included 57,308 applications lodged in Hong Kong and Beijing, according to an Immigration Department spreadsheet obtained by the Post, dated January 8, 2013. That is more than 75 per cent of the whole queue, and separate provincial arrival data indicates about 99 per cent of the applicants are mainland Chinese.

Since 2007, 80.8 per cent of Chinese applicants to the scheme have sought to live in British Columbia, the Post’s data shows. If that holds true for the backlog of applicants, some 45,800 rich mainland Chinese would be bound for the province, representing 61 per cent of all applicants.

The trend appears to be growing. Chinese immigrants planning to settle in British Columbia made up 65 per cent of all applications to the popular wealth migration scheme in 2011.

The Post’s documentation was provided by Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who obtained it via freedom-of-information requests, costly data searches and scouring of obscure data.

Previously released statistics on investor immigrant arrivals released by the British Columbia government give no hint of the sheer volume of Chinese millionaires seeking to move there. That data showed arrivals between 2005 and 2012 averaged about 4,600 per year.

Yet the Post’s investigation shows the number of applications to migrate to the province has dwarfed arrivals in recent years. In 2010 alone, there were 27,535 such applications, with 92 per cent of them coming from Chinese applicants.

David Mulroney, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012, said there was “a degree of inevitability [that most rich Chinese will seek to settle in Vancouver] given the profile that Vancouver enjoys”.

“It’s hard not to be impressed with Vancouver … but it would be nice to see more parts of Canada benefiting from immigration and the dynamism that that brings,” Mulroney said.

“People at the end of the day are free to move and will live wherever they want, but … we need to be ready to work more creatively with the provinces and ensure that people understand the advantages that Canada offers east of the Rocky Mountains. Vancouver is a wonderful place but there are lots of wonderful places in Canada.”

The Post’s data also suggests authorities may be trying to mitigate the impact of the scheme on British Columbia. From 2003 to 2010, the province consistently received around 50 per cent of all investor migrant arrivals in Canada. However, in 2011 British Columbia’s share fell sharply to 36 per cent. Its share of investor landings fell again in 2012, to 28 per cent.

Source: SCMP “Exclusive: Vancouver facing an influx of 45,000 more rich Chinese”

Housing Demand to Trend Higher

Res SalesThe British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2014 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to increase 4.8 per cent to 76,450 in MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.ts this year, before increasing a further 7 per cent to 81,800 units in 2015. The five-year average is 75,400 unit sales, while the ten-year average is 84,400 unit sales. A record 106,300

“Housing demand in the province has nearly fully recovered from the 2012 downturn,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Over the next year, BC will be the beneficiary of more robust global economic growth, led by a resurgent US economy and a favourable exchange rate. The resulting boost in employment will help underpin the housing market.”

“Home prices are not expected to climb much higher than the overall inflation rate as housing starts are expected to keep pace with consumer demand, added Muir. The average MLS® residential price is forecast to increase 1.8 per cent to $547,300 this year and a further 1.7 per cent to $556,800 in 2015.

Housing Forecast Summary


Detailed BCREA Housing Forecast here.