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Housing bodies to be briefed on HST switch

Feb 15 2012

B.C.'s housing industry will receive clarity by Friday on how it will move away from the harmonized sales tax, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says.

"We will be able to announce the transition rules for housing at the end of this week," Falcon said.

Homebuilders, and real estate and construction industry representatives have been urging the province to unveil a strategy to help in the months before the province moves back to the provincial sales tax, in March 2013.

Some realtors have even demanded the province immediately drop the provincial portion of the HST on new homes.

"I think that these rules will give an even stronger signal to the housing sector that there's now a lot of certainty," Falcon said.

Critics have suggested people may hold off buying new homes until 2013, because they will be subject to HST on new houses worth more than $525,000 (despite also receiving an exemption). The returning GST/PST system does not charge provincial tax on new home purchases.

Voters chose to reject the HST and revert back to the GST/PST system during a referendum last August.

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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