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British Columbia mortgage guide
Jamie David, Sr. Director of Marketing and Mortgages
British Columbia mortgage calculator
Getting a mortgage in British Columbia is no small undertaking - it will likely be the biggest financial commitment you ever make. The province is home to some of Canada's most expensive housing markets, including Vancouver, which has the nation's highest average home price. That’s why using a mortgage calculator when buying a home in British Columbia is crucial - it lets you figure out how much your mortgage will cost you ahead of time.
Of course, using a mortgage calculator is just one way to help you estimate the costs of getting a mortgage in British Columbia. It’s also important that you understand what affects the price of your home financing. That’s why we’ve laid out the costs of getting a mortgage in BC below. Each of these elements has already been included in the mortgage calculator above.
Canadian mortgage regulations, taxes and fees
There are many different regulations, taxes and fees to account for when calculating your mortgage amounts and monthly payments. While some of these variables are the same across Canada, others can vary in different provinces and territories.
Canada-wide mortgage regulations are set by the Ministry of Finance and OSFI to help protect homebuyers and lenders alike. These regulations include guidelines on minimum down payments, debt ratios, maximum amortization periods as well as mortgage default insurance (often known as CMHC insurance).
Here are the key regulations you need to be aware of, and that are included in the BC mortgage calculator above:
- The minimum down payment in Canada is between 5% and 10%, depending on the purchase price of the home.
- The maximum amortization is 25 years for down payments under 20% and 35 years for higher down payments.
- Mortgage default insurance - also called CMHC insurance - must be purchased for down payments between 5% and 20%. Visit our CMHC insurance page to learn more.
Regulations, taxes and fees specific to British Columbia
Many mortgage taxes and fees are set at the provincial level. In British Columbia, homebuyers must obtain British Columbia’s mortgage rates and cover BC’s land transfer tax. There is also a land transfer tax rebate available to first-time homebuyers in BC.
Mortgage rates in British Columbia
Some mortgage brokers and lenders charge different rates in different provinces. Ratehub.ca has a comprehensive list of the best mortgage rates in British Columbia to ensure you get the best rates for your area. These mortgage rates can also be found in the British Columbia mortgage calculator above.
Land transfer tax (LTT) in British Columbia
The land transfer tax in British Columbia is calculated as a percentage of the house’s value, estimated using its purchase price. The LTT’s marginal tax rate varies from 1.0% to 2.0% of the property’s value depending on its purchase price. See Ratehub.ca’s British Columbia land transfer tax page for more information on tax rates and calculations.
Land transfer tax rebate in British Columbia
First-time homebuyers in British Columbia are eligible for a full land transfer tax refund on homes $425,000 or less. For homes purchased for $426,000 - $450,000, a partial refund is available. For more information on home buyer eligibility and property eligibility, visit our British Columbia land transfer tax rebate page. You should also check out our federal first-time homebuyers' programs page, as you can benefit from federal programs in addition to those offered by the province.
British Columbia foreign buyer tax
For homebuyers who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents, British Columbia imposes an additional 20% tax on top of the standard property transfer tax for residential properties in the following regions of the province:
- Capital Regional District
- Fraser Valley Regional District
- Metro Vancouver Regional District
- Regional District of Central Okanagan
- Regional District of Nanaimo
The foreign buyer tax came into effect in January 2023. To learn more about it, you can visit the official British Columbia government website.
British Columbia speculation and vacancy tax
In order to try to ameliorate the current housing shortage in the province, the government of British Columbia has an annual speculation and vacancy tax that applies to certain specific municipalities and regions where housing is especially scarce. The tax rate varies depending on your residency and where you pay income tax. As a general rule, however, if a property is your principal residence, it will not be subject to the speculation and vacancy tax. You can find more detailed information on how this tax may apply to you on the official BC provincial website.
Note that this provincial tax is separate from municipal taxes such as the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax, which requires Vancouver homeowners to submit an annual declaration on the status of their property.
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