BC Speculation & Vacancy Tax

How to fill in the declaration form. Who is exempt? What’s the point???

It’s here. You can’t avoid it. If you don’t make a declaration you will be charged the full tax amount (you have 6 years to get a rebate if you are taxed and qualified for an exemption).

How to make your Speculation Tax exemption declaration:
We discuss this on our podcast and we fill in the declaration live on the show. Click the player below to listen, or watch the video.

PODCAST: Subscribe on all major platforms – Multiple Offers: A Real Estate Show
Jump to 8:48 for a walk-through of the declaration.

The form is pretty easy as an owner occupier. Go to It should take only a few minutes and you don’t need a wealth of personal information to complete it.
You will need to provide:

  1. Declaration Code (provided on letter sent from BC Gov)
  2. Letter ID (provided on letter sent from BC Gov)
  3. Property address
  4. Your Social Insurance Number
  5. And you MUST provide a phone number and email address

How much is the BC Speculation and Vacancy Tax?
The rate is 0.5% in 2018. In 2019 it goes up to 2% for foreigners and satellite families.
Details here:

Do you own a condo that is vacant more than 6 months of the year?
What are your options?

  1. Pay the tax
  2. Get a tenant
    What if strata bylaws prohibit rentals? You have until 2020 to get a tenant or you will not qualify for an exemption
  3. Sell your Condo

Preparing to list your home in a month or two

We notice that so much preparation happens about a week or two before going on the market. Doing some work in advance makes sure some of the hard to do items are done and allows you to focus on the final prep and staging leading up to the photoshoot.

1. Decluttering

Decluttering is exhausting. It takes way more time than we expect.

You NEED to get a head start on decluttering. Start by anything out of season. If it’s summer and you’re planning to list in the fall, pack away everything that has to do with Spring and most of Winter. (Keep the winter essentials accessible, but hopefully you’re moving before Winter takes full effect).

You like books? Pack up to half of them. Organize your bookshelf to make it visually appealing (6 Organizing Hacks).

2. Repairs

It might be a small repair you’ve now been considering for months. Maybe it only needs a few inexpensive parts and a few hours of labour. That doesn’t mean that the right person for the job can show up at a moment’s notice. Get ahead of it. Make the calls. Schedule the work and have it done early on in the process.

How The New West Guys can help: We know some great tradespeople and handymen. Sign up to list your home with us and we’ll help cover the cost!

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Nearly all the New West luxury homes sold in April 2018

After many months of waiting on the market, nearly every house for sale in Queens Park sold in the month of April. Was it a fluke? Was it foreign investment? Is it a sign of another rapid increase?

It’s actually great news for stability. Houses in Queens Park and particularly those that sold recently fall into the luxury segment for New West (about $2M). The market for detached houses has been slowly improving since the beginning of 2018. Small gains week by week have created consumer confidence and pushed activity up the price band. Houses started selling at $1.2M then $1.4M followed by $1.6M and in April the buyers who sold between $1.4M and $1.6M had the funds to move up to the $2M house that they wanted.

Very aggressive markets from years past would have seen this entire progression happen in less than one month. We took three months this year to walk ourselves there. It’s a sign of stability. It’s a sign of consistency. It’s a great time to plan and to complete all your due diligence when making a purchase. You might even get away with an offer subject to sale!

Your options definitely depend on your goals, the home you’re in and the type of home you want to move to. An expert can help create a strategy to help you get there. You know I want to be that person to help you!

My recent video blog tells the same story…and you get to see me where a tie. Video below:

Matt’s New West market update:

We are only two weeks into January and usually there isn’t enough activity to make any inferences at all. This year is different! There is already a lot of activity in all price bands. That means consumer confidence in long term values. That means there is a sense of urgency among buyers. And that could be a result of mortgage rules changing. Buyers with a pre-approval in place have a window of opportunity to make a purchase under the old rules. That could be a primary driving force. A strong start usually means a very strong Spring with high sales volume.

Property Assessments were released at the start of the month. I’ve already heard from several past clients to discuss appealing. If this has crossed your mind please read my blog ( and/or watch the included video.

Please help my business with any leads you can think of. I’m right on top of the market right now, and my client list is very short. I have all the tools to put to work. Please, help me put my expertise to good use.

2018 Property Assessments – view yours and learn more:

The video below gets into a specific example using the two properties that I own. The links below will help you find your assessment and estimate what you will owe this year (if your property is in New West).

Assessments are always a talking point this time of year. The most important thing I want you to know is that the assessment is not intended to represent what your home should sell for. For starters, the assessment is based on values as of July 1 2017. A lot has changed since then. In addition, the goal of the assessment authority is not to provide an exact market value. If they strive to get too close to perfection they run the risk of being perceived by many as being incorrect. They’re big fear in that scenario is a giant wave of complaints and appeals flooding in.

When should you appeal your assessment? The important differentiator you are looking for is the average increase for your area. If most homes in your area went up 15% and your property went up 30% then it’s worth investigating if that difference is warranted. It’s that type of scenario that will have your property taxes going up more than average. Of course, the actual valuation has to be out of line for them to even consider your appeal.

Send me a direct message if you want to talk about it more. I usually help a few people each year gather information to help appeal their assessment.

Helpful Links:

BC Assessment –

New West Property Tax Information (Mil Rates, Due Dates, and more) –

New West Property Tax Estimator –

New mortgage rules are already driving up prices

On October 17 2017 the announcement was made that as of January 1st 2018 buyers will qualify for a smaller mortgage than they do today (read this from the Financial Post for more details on the upcoming changes The immediate impact has been noticeable. This is a short term analysis that, despite its small sample size, can’t be ignored.

As of today we are about 10 days into a wave of aggressive and urgent behaviour across all price bands. We know it’s a result of the announcement because we saw properties (average condos and houses for the area) that had sat on the market for 3+ weeks get a surge of interest. The announcement was made and the next week these properties were selling with multiple offers over their asking price. It is highly unusual for a listing more than two weeks old to sell over the asking price and we are seeing it again and again.

What does this mean for the rest of 2017? I suspect this trend to continue. Those who didn’t pounce in the past two weeks fear losing their buying power and could keep this wave moving to the end of the year.

The big mystery is the start of 2018. Will fear be the predominant emotion? If so, expect a slow, cautious start. Never underestimate the demand for housing in our region. Too many people feel pushed out. Prices could drop just slightly. They reach a point of acceptable affordability for just a small segment and buyers are jumping on it. Demand is too high to have the patience to wait out sellers and drive down their prices.