In coordination with CHBA BC's Government Relations Committee, we are tracking all advocacy and government relations activities and will be reporting on these efforts via the Advocacy Update.
New mortgage rules in effect as of January 1
In late 2017, CHBA successfully requested that buyers who signed a purchase and sales contract prior to October 17, 2017, should qualify under the ‘old’ pre-stress test mortgage rules. The new Office of the Superintendent of Financial Services (OSFI) federal stress test requirements, which ensure the buyer can pay the loan if interest rates are higher than today’s rates, are in effect as of January 1, 2018.
CEO Neil Moody presents to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for Budget 2018
Each year the budget committee travels around B.C. for pre-budget hearings. British Columbians can contribute to a session in person, and submit a written version. Neil Moody presented to the committee on October 11, outlining CHBA BC's asks for a renovation tax credit for energy efficiency and changes to the property transfer tax. Read the full text of Neil's presentation here. Read the full written submission by CHBA BC using this link.
Step Code costing study released in early Fall 2017
A significant costing study was completed by BC Housing and other partners to determine possible cost increases or decreases with the new BC Energy Step Code. This was a key request of industry groups, including CHBA BC, to understand the possible impact on affordability. As the BC Energy Step Code is performance-based, this costing study analyzed various combinations of materials that could meet the requirements of each step, such as options for walls, windows, space heating and HRV. A possible 129,024,000 combinations were modelled in the exercise.
Residential construction data for 2016 available
Each year, CHBA National releases economic data for cities across the country. This data demonstrates the impact that residential construction has on all communities, big and small. To view the data online, click here.
In 2016, the residential construction industry created 158,438 on and off-site jobs in new construction, renovation and repair. This is an increase of 15.5 per cent. Wages have increased to $9.2 billion, an increase of 16.5 per cent. Investment value has risen to $23.1 billion dollars from $19.0 billion, an increase of 21.5 per cent. The investment value of new homes, renovations and repairs in 2016 is based on Statistics Canada Building Permits data, which do not include land value generated.
Tweet the impacts to your Member of Parliament: You can use the 3 clicks to tweet your MP resources on the CHBA National website to share the impacts in your community directly with your MP. Click here to view this resource online (you will need to be logged in.)
New rules for construction heat
Gas furnaces manufactured on or after May 1, 2017, are not permitted to be used in Canada for heating of buildings or structures under ‘construction.’ Work by CHBA National has lead to an understanding that construction is ‘complete’ after drywall installation, sanding, and priming. Once this stage is complete, furnaces are eligible to activation to provide finishing heat.
Work is taking place in Ontario to establish a protocol with gas utilities and the Ontario Technical Standards Safety Authority (TSSA), to provide a model that can be applied in other provinces. Any details for implementation in BC will be released once available.
While CHBA is opposed to the idea that furnaces should not be used for construction heat, CHBA has been at the table to provide clarity for implementation for members.
Federal government reduces anti-dumping duties on U.S. drywall
On February 27, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced new minimum import prices that are 32.17% lower than the normal values established in the initial anti-dumping investigation. This reduction is in line with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal's recommendation to reduce the duties to 43% of the export price (from as high as 201%). The Minister also announced that the government will use the $12 million in anti-dumping duties already collected to provide relief to builders and contractors who were unable to pass through elevated drywall costs, due to fixed-price building contracts committed to before the imposition of duties.
CHBA estimates that industry/association intervention on this issue resulted in $330 million savings for Western Canada businesses in new construction alone, and over $172 million in just B.C.
Western Economic Diversification Canada administered a relief program in May and June 2017. Eligible contractors affected by high drywall prices were able to receive some reimbursement.
BC Budget 2017: Property Transfer Tax exemption threshold for first-time home buyers increased to $500,000 from $475,000
Effective for registrations made on or after Feb. 22, 2017, the threshold for the first-time home buyers program for the property transfer tax (PTT) will increase to $500,000 from $475,000. The partial exemption threshold has also increased to $525,000. This will now save first-time home buyers up to $8,000, which is an increase of $500.
CHBA BC recommended an increase to the first-time home buyers’ program in its 2017-18 pre-budget submission, to better reflect rising home prices. In 2014, the threshold for the exemption increased to $475,000 from $425,000.
CHBA BC participates in building stakeholder groups
CHBA BC actively participates as an advisory member in two stakeholder groups within the Building Safety and Standards Branch: the Fire Sprinklers Working Group and the Climate Leadership Plan Stakeholder Group - Built Environment.
CEO Neil Moody co-signs letter to Premier on property transfer tax for foreign buyers
In late July, the Government of British Columbia announced an additional 15% tax for non-Canadians who purchase property in Metro Vancouver. CHBA BC, and several other industry associations, expressed significant concerns that there was no exemption for all contracts signed in advance of this announcement. Custom home building and pre-sale agreements are signed years and months in advance of the transfer date, so this tax unfairly penalizes those who signed in advance with full knowledge of the taxes at the tim
CHBA BC attends Budget 2016 in Victoria
The Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC advocated for changes to the Property Transfer Tax and reduced government-imposed costs on new housing in the 2016/17 pre-budget submission. You can view the submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services here.
CHBA BC attended the provincial budget lockup on February 16, 2016 in Victoria where changes to the property transfer tax on new housing were announced by the Minister of Finance. This exemption will save purchasers up to $13,000 on a newly constructed home and is estimated to provide approximately $75 million in property transfer tax relief for new construction in 2016-17. For more information, you can read the post-budget statement here.
From this source, it is reported that between Feb. 17 and June 29, 2016, 3,603 buyers have saved an average of $7,060 on their newly built homes. This is a total savings of $25,436,366!
CHBA Actions in 2015 Result in Canada Post Suspending $200 Community Mailbox Fee Indefinitely
CHBA was pleased to announce in August 2015, that after further discussions with Canada Post, the Corporation has agreed to defer the implementation of the proposed community mailbox (CMB) fee indefinitely. This is a significant victory for CHBA's members and especially for new home buyers across the country.
CHBA, working in concert across all three levels of the Association, vehemently opposed any implementation of the proposed fee. With this indefinite suspension through to 2019, CHBA’s action will have saved new home buyers over $120M, with savings continuing annually thereafter.
Canada Post is working towards financial sustainability by 2019. They note that, should Canada Post not return to financial sustainability upon the successful completion of the plan, they would consider reassessing the need for additional measures. At that point, CHBA would take action again if CMB fees are proposed.