Vancouver councillor asks province to review homeowner grant in light of rapid price increases
Zooming home values, especially in Vancouver, have put the homeowner grant out of reach for many residents, says Coun. Raymond Louie
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Should Vancouver residents whose home values have soared above $1.2 million still be eligible for the provincial homeowner grant?
Vancouver Coun. Raymond Louie plans to introduce a motion at the Oct. 4 council meeting to ask the province to review how the threshold is set in order to prevent more homeowners from falling below the limit.
“Their property assessment goes up and suddenly they lose their grant,” Louie said.
“The percentage of coverage goes down each year because the assessment goes up, and the amount of exempt value doesn’t match the appreciation in home value.”
In January, many Vancouver residents were shocked to discover their property assessments has risen by between 15 and 25 per cent compared to the year before. While the province increased the exempt threshold by $100,000 in January to the $1.2 million cut-off, property values especially in Vancouver have been rising too quickly to keep pace, Louie said.
“People complain because they’ve lost their home owner grant, and the province says OK we’ll change the exempt level,” Louie said. “But they don’t describe how they made the decision of how to raise the exempt level.”
While 95 per cent of homeowners used to be able to apply for the grant, it now applies to 91 per cent. In Vancouver, 84.5 per cent of homeowners qualified in 2006; that has now dropped to 64.7 per cent. Louie’s motion suggests the province undertake a review, including whether it’s fair to have a single threshold for the entire province.
Homeowners eligible for the grant can receive $570 per year, while seniors, veterans, people with a disability or those living with a person with a disability can get a grant worth $845.