BC Government Announces New Housing Measures in 2024 Budget

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy introduced the provincial government’s Budget 2024. The budget unveiled several new housing related measures, including the BC Home Flipping Tax and various property transfer tax exemptions.

While BCREA commends the provincial government’s renewed commitment and efforts to improve housing attainability for British Columbians, the budget’s introduction of a “flipping tax” is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on housing attainability.  

Flipping Tax 

The BC Home Flipping Tax is a 20 per cent tax on the gain from sale of a home within a one-year time horizon and a pro-rated tax on sales up to within a two-year period. The tax will apply to both properties and assignments of contracts and is in addition to any existing federal or provincial income taxes incurred from the sale of the property, including the federal anti-flipping tax. Exemptions will be available for certain life circumstances that might motivate the sale of a property within two years, including for added supply through the creation of rental accessory dwelling units. 

The BCREA Economics Department’s preliminary analysis estimates the flipping tax will decrease home sales by between 1-2 per cent over a three-year period. Given the relatively small impact, prices and housing attainability are essentially unchanged by the tax. This is unsurprising, given that short-term flipping represents a low share of sales activity (less than 2 per cent in both Vancouver and Victoria). 

However, because the government has now implemented a disincentive to sell within a two-year period after purchasing, there will be some potential sellers that are prompted to delay listing, resulting in a lower level of listings inventory than without the tax. As a result, home prices may increase with the flipping tax compared to a no-tax baseline. Ultimately, the only way to prevent harmful short-term speculation in the housing market is to ensure housing is abundant. Our team plans to continue to analyze the flipping tax and provide updates when available. 

Property Transfer Tax Exemptions 

In principle, BCREA supports reduced property transfer taxes for first-time home buyers and people purchasing newly constructed homes. However, while we're in favour of measures that increase first-time home buyers’ abilities to purchase properties, it's critically important that housing supply is increased so they aren’t caught in bidding wars to acquire those homes. More detail is needed on property transfer tax exemption for purpose-built rentals to understand its impact on housing attainability for British Columbians. 

BCREA will continue to advocate for more thoughtful and evidence-based policies that can genuinely move the needle on housing attainability and alleviate the housing crisis facing British Columbians. 

In early March, BCREA and delegates from real estate boards across the province will be taking part in our annual Government Liaison (GL) Days in Victoria. During this time, we will be meeting with MLA’s representing all parties and advocating for the establishment of a permanent housing roundtable where stakeholders such as BCREA can advise on housing policy prior to its introduction and implementation. Stay tuned to BCREA channels for more details about GL Days. 

If you have any questions or comments, please please contact: Gino Pezzani.


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