Property Transfer Tax (PTT) and Vancouver Real Estate

*** Looking for a PTT Calculator? Check out the BC Property Transfer Tax Calculator! ***

I get questions all the time about BC’s Property Transfer Tax and how it applies to Vancouver Real Estate. Here’s a simple explanation.

BC’s Property Transfer Tax – What is it? Property Transfer Tax (PTT) is a British Columbia tax on the sale or transfer of ownership of any residential real estate property in the Province.

How Much is the PTT?

BC’s PTT rate is 1% on the 1st $200,000 and 2% of the balance of the purchase price of the any property sold  in BC.

For example:

If you buy a property for $300K, you will have to pay $4000 in PTT.

When do you pay PTT?

Property Transfer Tax is paid  on the Completion Date when the title to the property is transferred to the Buyer and the Seller receives their money.

Who pays PTT? All Buyers, EXCEPT First time home buyers who meet the following criteria:

  • Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents determined by Immigration Canada.
  • Lived in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date registration of the property, or have filed 2 income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the date the property is registered
  • Lived in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date registration of the property, or have filed 2 income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the date the property is registered
  • Never owned a property or an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at anytime
  • Never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund.
  • The fair market value of the property is less than $475,000 (Updated as of February 2014 with the First Time Homer Buyers Exemption for the PTT was raised)
  • The Lot has to be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller, and
  • The property can  only be used as a principal residence.

If the property meet some these criteria, there may be a partial exemption.

Below is the First Time Home Buyers Tax Exemption for Property Transfer Tax from the BC Government Website.Property Transfer Tax Exemption First Time Home Buyers in British Columbia

How is PTT paid?

The lawyer or notary that is helping you transfer ownership of the property will apply and organize the documentation.

New Home Buyer? Check out these Informative Videos for Vancouver First Time Home Buyers!

Questions on Selling a Condo in Vancouver? Check out these Great Videos on How to Sell Your Condo!

I welcome questions, thoughts, and comments!


  Comments: 17

  1. Matt Collinge

    Hey Mike, turn off your lawn mower before starting your video next time!

  2. Hi Matt,

    Good to hear from you.

    I like multi-tasking, but it sucks when I get grass on my suit…


    Whats new?

  3. Will the upcoming HST have an effect on this property transfer tax?

  4. Hi Sam,

    Good to hear from you and thank you for commenting!

    I don’t think the HST will have an effect on PTT, but I would confirm this with your accountant to be 100% sure.

    I don’t think the HST is going to have that big of an effect as HST is only payable on brand new properties in BC.

    How is furnished rental game?

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  5. Hi Mike,

    You have a great blog going here! I checked back through the topics you’ve gone over and come across many that I had no idea about or hadn’t even considered. For example, I wasn’t aware that HST only applies to new properties (Mr. Campbell hasn’t done a great job of getting this information out to the angry mobs) or the relevant taxes that apply when buying a property.

    For one of your next blog ideas, I think it would be great if you could briefly run over the key factors that shape the real estate market here. Things like the effect of the high number of foreign (often times Asian) buyers, the demographics of the area, etc. As someone with a general interest in our real estate market but not much specific experience in the area, I think it would be really helpful.

  6. Hi Justin,

    Good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to comment.

    I agree, the Provincial Government and the Premier has not done a very good job of communicating the facts about this tax. There is a common misconception that HST is going to be payable on ALL properties in British Columbia and that it will have a huge effect on the market. As you mentioned and I pointed out in my blog post on the topic, HST is only payable on brand new properties (and above) and will not have that big of an impact on the market (for now at least)

    I like your idea about what is moving the market. Right now there are a lot of buyers from Mainland China buying houses on the Westside of Vancouver, but most of buyers I am seeing are locals of all backgrounds. There are a lot international buyers from the Middle East and Asia, but locals make up a majority of the buyers I am seeing. I’ll have to do a blog post on that topic. Thanks for the food for thought!

  7. Hi Justin,

    Thanks for the information on the PTT…You were one of the first topics to show up when I did my search which is great. We are selling a house and plot at 1268 chartwell in west van in october maybe you could help us with then…

    Just one thing about your video and comment. In the video you say PTT is 1% for first 200K and then 2% on the ballance. Written below it says 1% for first 100K and then 2% on the ballance…



  8. Hi Jade,

    Good to hear from you and thank you for the kind words!

    Also thank you very much for catching that error! I hate it when I do that and really appreciate you letting me know.

    West Vancouver is gorgeous and I had a look at 1268 Chartwell online, that’s a gorgeous spot!

    Let me know if I can do anything to help you with the you place.



  9. Hi mike.. here’s what I sent to BC’s wonderful Govt.
    I dont really expect an explanation.. but I’ll let you know if I do.

    To whom it may concern:

    can you explain why the property transfer tax procedure is around 200.00 in other provinces and, with ridiculous prices on real estate in Vancouver, over 7000.00 in BC? How is this legal? what is the money paying for? where is it going?
    is this realistic? I was planning on moving to the Vancouver area with my family, and now with just enough for a down payment on a 550,000.00 property, I’m told there is a “FEE” from the Govt. requiring an extra 9000.00 to transfer title. There is no way I can do it..
    How.. in this day and age, can extortion even exist?

    thank you for deterring my purchase, thank you for forcing me to pay a landlord instead of supporting my own future, or my 4 month old sons future.

    thank you.. I am Canadian.. I bend over and take a beating because I can..

  10. Hi Kelico,

    Good to hear from you and thank you for commenting and sharing your letter to the BC Gov’t!

    BC is certainly a high tax jurisdiction!

    My understanding is that PTT was brought in during the housing boom of the 1980’s to reduce the amount of speculative transactions and to stabilize the British Columbia real estate market, by making it more expensive for speculators to buy and sell.

    Unfortunately this tax applies to all transactions and has not been changed in recent years to reflect the increased cost of housing in BC.

    I am not a fan of this tax either, but its up to BC government to change it. My understanding is that the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and other boards across the Province are lobbying the BC government to change or reduce this tax, but governments like money, so I would be very surprised if this tax is changed or goes away.

    Here’s a link to the BC gov’ts site on the PTT for further reference

  11. Hi Mike.
    Thank you for the information on the PTT.
    So.. as always.. the government has implemented a “temporary” tax to alleviate economic stresses of the day and decided to keep them because they like money.. and blowing it continuously.

    Thank you again for the information. It doesn’t make it any easier for sure.. but at least I know.


  12. Great blog, Mike. What about a couple buying together, only one of whom is a first-time buyer? Can the first-time buyer qualify for the exemption?

  13. Hi Michael,

    Good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to comment and thanks for the kind words on my blog!

    My understanding is that if a person has bought a property anywhere in the world, they have to pay Property Transfer Tax in British Columbia.

    If there are two people on Title, I think you may have to pay PTT.

    Presumably you could have only one person (the person who hasn’t bought before) on Title to avoid the PTT, but you may need both people on Title to qualify for the mortgage. I would speak to your mortgage broker about this to get an idea of what might work in your situation.

    Please note – I am not an accountant, I am not qualified to definitively advise on taxation. Please contact an accountant to confirm everything I have mentioned here before you do anything. Let me know if you need a contact as I know several accountants that can answer any of your PTT questions.

    Thanks again and looking forward to hearing from you!

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