Ceiling raised for homeowner grants

VICTORIA – The provincial government is raising the eligibility threshold for homeowner grants by $100,000 because of the big increase in B.C. property values in the past year.The value of residential properties across the province including new construction increased by 20 per cent last year.

The government says it will introduce legislation next month to increase the threshold for the grants to $685,000 from the current $585,000.Finance Minister Colin Hansen says about 21,000 homeowners whose grants would have been reduced will now continue to collect the full amount.”Just because property values are going up we feel that government’s contribution to homeowner grants should remain constant going forward,” he says.The minister says the higher ceiling means that more than 95 per cent of British Columbia homeowners will continue to receive grants to help pay their property tax bills.

The president-elect of the Victoria Real Estate Board says this is good news for seniors in particular.”There’s a lot of people with a lot of equity in homes that they bought many many years ago who stayed in Victoria,” says Scott Kendrew. The 2005 property tax assessments are in the mail this week.