First Time Home Buyers' Program

The First Time Home Buyers' Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption from the tax.

If one or more of the purchasers don’t qualify, only the percentage of interest that the first time home buyer(s) have in the property is eligible.

For example, if you acquired 60% interest in the property and another person acquired 40% interest but only you meet the qualifications, only your 60% would receive the exemption.

Do I Qualify?

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

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Have either:
    • Lived in B.C. for at least a year immediately before the date you register the property
    • Filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 taxation years immediately before the registration date
  • Have never owned a registered interest in a property that was your principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
  • Have never received a first time home buyers' exemption or refund

and the property must:

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

Find out the amount of your exemption if you qualify.

Foreign entities and taxable trustees are not eligible for the exemption. If you're an individual who doesn’t qualify because you're not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you become one on or before the first anniversary of the registration date, you may apply for a refund of the property transfer tax. To apply for a property transfer tax refund in this case, call 250-387-0555.

Find out if you're eligible to claim a refund of any additional property transfer tax you may have paid.

Apply

Your legal professional will apply the exemption in the property transfer tax return.

When the return is submitted, you must meet additional requirements during the first year you own the property to keep the tax exemption.

If you apply but fail to move onto the property within the required time, or move out before the required time, contact us.

Penalty for False Declaration

All applications are reviewed. You will be charged a penalty equal to double the tax if you falsely declare that you either:

  • Have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
  • Have never received a first time home buyers' exemption or refund

Additional Requirements After You Apply

Existing Home

To keep the tax exemption, you must have:

  • Moved into your home within 92 days of the date the property was registered
  • Continuously occupied the property as your principal residence up to the first anniversary of the registration date

You may keep part of the exemption if you moved out before the end of the first year.

If the owner passed away, or the property is transferred because of a separation agreement or a court order under the Family Law Act before the first anniversary of the registration date, you still qualify to keep the tax exemption.

Built New Home

If you registered a vacant lot and built your own home that's affixed to the property, to keep the tax exemption:

  • The fair market value of the property at registration plus the cost to build your home must be less than $525,000
  • You must have built and moved into your home within the first anniversary from the registration date
  • You must have continued to occupy the property as your principal residence to a date no earlier than the first anniversary of the registration date

You may keep part of the exemption if you moved out before the end of the first year.

If the owner passed away, or the property is transferred because of a separation agreement or a court order under the Family Law Act before the end of the first year, you still qualify to keep the tax exemption.

Refunds

If you qualify for the program, but didn't apply when you registered your home, you may apply for a refund from the first anniversary to 18 months after the registration date.

To apply:

  1. Complete, print and sign the First Time Home Buyers' Application for Refund (FIN 265) (PDF)

  2. Scan the completed form and any required supporting documentation and either: