Many potential home buyers would like to start building equity in their own home, but are held back by concerns about cost. In fact, the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation estimates that 40 per cent of renters in Canada today can afford to buy their own home. If affordable housing options are available to so many renters, what’s holding them back?

Sometimes news reports of home prices can give a misleading impression about the true costs of home-ownership. The media typically report median or average prices without explaining the distribution of home prices behind those figures.

Median Price

A median is that price at which half the homes sold for more while half sold for less. That means that there are just as many homes that sold at a price lower than the median than those that sold at prices higher than the median price.

The median price doesn’t give any indication of the spread of these prices. Many properties are sold at much lower and higher prices, of course than the median price.

Average Price

An average price is the total dollar volume of homes sold for a particular period, divided by the number of units sold.

Average prices are typically reported for the sales activity in a given area for a given month, quarter or year, and provide a snapshot of past activity. Average prices of properties sold in the past give only a limited indication of what housing inventory for sale is priced at today. An understanding of the housing in a particular community is needed to put average prices into perspective. For example, sales of a new sub-division or townhouse project of larger, upscale homes at higher prices will bring the overall average price up, giving the impression that all housing prices have risen, when in reality, prices for the older, smaller housing units in the community may not have changed, or they may have even have dropped.

Affordability & Selection

Record low mortgage rates combined with softening prices and great selection are making Metro Vancouver real estate more affordable.  A Royal Pacific Realty Group REALTOR® with experience in the community in which you’re interested in buying can provide a knowledgeable market analysis and show you what is available within your budget.

For further information, contact a Royal Pacific Realty Group. You may well find that you can afford that dream of home ownership after all.


Incentive programs include:

Home Buyers’ Plan: Registered Retirement Savings for down payments
Canada Revenue Agency’s Home Buyers’ Plan lets qualifying home buyers use up to $25,000 of their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to buy a home. Couples can use up to $50,000. The home must be a principal residence, the home buyers must not have owned a home within the past five years and the loan must be repaid with 15 years.Disabled home buyers upgrading to a more accessible home also qualify as do relatives helping disabled home buyers. Home buyers who have already used the plan and have fully repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the plan a second time.  Canada Revenue Agency – For information: Home Buyers’ Plan 1-800-959-8287

High ratio mortgages on green properties
CMHC has added environmentally friendly features to the Mortgage Loan Insurance it offers. If you use CMHC insured financing to buy an energy-efficient home, purchase a house and make energy-saving renovations or renovate your existing home to make it more energy-efficient, a 10% refund on the Mortgage Loan Insurance premium may be available. You could also have the added flexibility of an extended amortization (up to a maximum of 30 years) without a premium surcharge. CMHC – For information: Green Home 

CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund
Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy savings renovations. For information: CMHC 604-731-5733

First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit
This is a non-refundable income tax credit for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation.It’s calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2011) by $5,000. For the 2011 tax year, the maximum credit is $750. Canada Revenue Agency
For information: 1-800-959-8281

BC First-time New Home Buyer’s Bonus
First-time new home buyers may be eligible for a one-time grant equal to 5% of the purchase price of a home, if if you are building a home, 5% of the land and construction costs, up to $10,000. The bonus is based on the net income of the home buyer. This program ends March 31, 2013.

 HST Rebate on New Homes
New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. Canada Revenue Agency. For information: HST-New housing rebate 1-800-959-8287

BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
Home buyers in BC pay a provincial Property Transfer Tax (PPT) when they buy a home. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the remainder. First-time home buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. Buyers can’t have previously owned a home anywhere in the world. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue
For information: Property Transfer Tax 250-387-0604

 BC Home Owner Grant Reduces school property taxes by up to $570 on properties with an assessed value up to $1,285,000.For 2011, the basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of value over $1,150,000, and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,264,000+.An additional grant reduces property tax by a further $275 for a total of $845 for seniors, veterans and the disabled. This is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,285,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,319,000+. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue
For information: Home Owner Grant Or contact your local municiple tax office.

 BC New Housing Rebate (HST) Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $850,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST, paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at $850,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. For information: New Housing Rebate 1-800-959-8287

 HST Residential Energy Credit Home owners and residential landlords buying heating fuel will receive a provincial goverment point-of-sale rebate on utility bills equal to the provincial component of the HST.Home owners and landlords who buy energy not separately metered, for example, in a cooperative, and who don’t receive the credit on their utility bill, can apply to the provincial government for the credit. For information: Residential Energy Credit

Federal ecoENERGY retrofit ecoENERGY Retrofit for Homes provides home and property owners with grants of up to $5,000 to offset the cost of making energy-efficiency improvements that range from increasing insulation to upgrading a furnace.Please note that the government stopped accepting applications on January 28, 2012. The deadline to complete work remains March 31, 2012, however the deadline to obtain a post-retrofit evaluation for work completed by March 31, 2012, is now June 30, 2012. Natural Resources Canada For information: ecoENERGY Retrofit – homes

LiveSmart BC – Efficiency Incentive Program Home owners improving the energy efficiency of their homes may qualify for cash incentives through this provincial program provided in partnership with Fortis BC (formerly Terasen Gas) and BC Hydro. Rebates are for energy efficient products which replace gas and oil furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation, windows, doors, skylights and more. The LiveSmart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home energy assessment, directly to the service provider. For information: LiveSmart BC 1 866-430-8765 Or, go to Google and in the search box type in ‘Residential Energy Credit rebate program.’ It is the first item. 1 877-388-4440