The following is a combination of the perspectives of a CENTURY 21 realtor in Ontario, and one in British Columbia, about the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) coming to both their provinces in 2010.
Last month, the Government of Ontario formally launched its latest assault on homeowners, purchasers and sellers with the introduction of legislation to harmonize the provincial sales tax and goods and services tax.
Home buyers and sellers will pay 8 per cent more on legal fees, appraisals, real estate commissions, home inspection fees, and moving costs, adding about $1,500 in new taxes to the average residential real estate transaction in Ontario.
For people already owning homes, the HST will also add hundreds of dollars in additional tax on utility bills (gas, electricity and home heating fuel), on home renovation labour, the cost of lawn upkeep, landscaping, and the cost of snow removal.
By Carol Ireland, a sales representative at Century 21 Millennium Inc. in Wasaga Beach, Ontario.
Meanwhile, in BC...
Next July, British Columbia will implement the HST. This is a combining of the GST of 5% and the PST of 7%, bringing us up to a 12% sales tax throughout the province. While it is fairly complex, in a nutshell it means that many goods and services to which PST does not currently apply, will suddenly carry the additional tax.
For home buyers, it is still uncertain exactly how it will affect prices as builders, developers and realtors are still lobbying to have the current exemptions adjusted for inflation, so that they conform better to British Columbia's high average house prices.
Right now we know the rates are good, and we know there are some amazing deals to be had, especially on new properties that were begun in a busier market and recently completed in a slower market. What we don’t know is what the rates will be in 6 months, what the government will decide to do about the HST exemptions, and what the inventory of properties will look like next year.
So, if you have been on the fence about buying a property, now is a great time to take advantage of some excellent opportunities.
By Susan Abuelsamid, a sales representative with Century 21 Kootenay Homes Inc. in Trail, BC.