Grants lost as home prices rise in Richmond

Skyrocketing property values have left an additional 1,113 detached home owners with no Home Owner Grant, according to an analysis by the City of Richmond.

Whereas in 2016, 27.6 per cent of detached home owners never received the grant, this year, 32 per cent were barred from financial help.

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The provincial government increased the grant threshold for properties valued at $1.2 million, to those valued at $1.6 million. Had it not, the analysis shows 70 per cent of detached home owners would have lost their grant and just 14 per cent would have received it. Now, 54 per cent of the 22,660 detached home owners will receive the grant. 

Little changes for strata property owners, on the whole — only 86 such properties were valued at over $1.6 million.

This year, 99.8 per cent of the 40,561 strata owners received a full grant.

Since 2014, total residential value assessment has increased 65 per cent, from $44.5 billion to $73.4 billion.

Last month, city councillors asked revenue manager Ivy Wong to research the possibility of introducing variable residential tax rates to avoid fluctuating property taxes between strata and detached home owners.

Such an idea requires provincial government approval, which would be difficult without broad support from provincial municipalities, which does not exist, said Wong, in a report to council this month.

As it stands, property taxes are intended to tax net wealth, noted Wong.

Any policy to equalize such taxes between more wealthy detached home owners and less wealthy strata property owners would eliminate the progressive nature of the tax, noted Wong.

It was reiterated that detached home owners on fixed incomes can defer property taxes at a 0.7 per cent simple interest rate.

Report here

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