HST lowers house prices in Chilliwack, realtor claims

New houses in Chilliwack are more affordable due to rebates under the harmonized sales tax, claims Chilliwack realtor Jake Siemens.

New houses in Chilliwack are more affordable due to rebates under the harmonized sales tax, claims Chilliwack realtor Jake Siemens.

“In the Chilliwack area, the HST has lowered the cost of the average new home we are selling at Jinkerson Vistas by between $900 and $2,200,” he said in a news release issued by the B.C. Liberal government caucus.

Siemens stood by his comments in a telephone interview with The Progress Wednesday.

But other realtors aren’t so sure, saying the HST and its impact on real estate is “so confusing,” as Mark Andersen, president of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board, put it, that Siemens’ calculations have been sent on to the provincial real estate board.

But Chilliwack realtor Michael Henshall is already firmly in the anti-HST camp.

“I would say, if there is a decrease in price, it’s due to the economy as a whole slowing down,” he said, as new home buyers hold off purchases, the inventory of unsold houses grows, which causes prices to fall.

“Vote to get rid of the HST,” he advised, quoting Winston Churchill’s comment that “for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself.”

According to the Vancouver Real Estate Board’s HST site, buyers of homes priced under $525,000 won’t have to pay the HST due to rebates.

But it goes on to say that the HST “penalizes those homebuyers who have saved vigorously to purchase a new home in B.C. and who can afford something more substantial and bigger for their families.”

In Chilliwack, where the average house price starts at about $445,000, Siemens said the “HST rebates for this price range would reduce the final sale price by nearly $1,300 compared to the PST/GST.”

However, Henshall pointed out that buyers still face extra costs as the HST is applied to previously untaxed house inspections, conveyancing and realtors’ fees.

In the government news release, Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner said economists had predicted new house prices would drop with the HST.

“By removing the embedded PST that used to apply to every can of paint, all the nails and every piece of lumber that goes into a new house, the HST has resulted in the final price being lower for these new homes,” he said.

Said Chilliwack MLA John Les in the release: “This is great news for home buyers. Not only does the HST lower the costs for builders, but it’s now easier for first-time home owners to enter the housing market.”

NDP activist Gwen O’Mahony, who has run in both federal and provincial elections, said the news release “seems to be a real desperate effort to sell this tax to Chilliwack.”

“I sent it on to our NDP team because of the way it was framed, like it was a unique situation only in Chilliwack,” she said.

Former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm said in an email that the Fight HST organization get “more complaints about the negative effects of the HST from home builders and realtors than from any other particular group.”

“I don’t know what is happening in Chilliwack,” he said. “We are taking the Liberal government to task with the ombudspersons office over false, misleading and lying advertising, maybe this government release should be thrown into the mix.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Historic look at Chilliwack activities we are missing in the pandemic

Images from the Chilliwack Museum & Archives show sporting events everyone hopes to get back to soon

VIDEO: Car goes off Highway 1 and into a ditch in Chilliwack

Eastbound vehicle left the highway ending in the ditch on south side of Luckakuck Way

Emergency crews respond to ATV rollover near Harrison

ATV rolled over on or near Harrison East Forest Service Road near Harrison Hot Springs

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

Most Read