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4 Definitions In Relation To First Time Home Buyers’ Program

In This Volume

4 (1) In this section and in sections 4.1 to 12

  • “eligible transaction” means, for the purposes of determining the eligibility of a first time home buyer for an exemption or refund under sections 5 to 12, a taxable transaction not referred to in paragraph (f) or (g) of the definition of “taxable transaction”, for which an application for registration is made at a land title office after March 23, 1994;
  • “first time home buyer” means an individual who
  • (a) on the registration date is,
    • (i) a Canadian citizen, or
    • (ii) a permanent resident of Canada,
  • (b) either
    • (i) continuously maintained the individual’s principal residence in British Columbia throughout a period of not less than one year immediately before the registration date, or
    • (ii) was subject to tax under section 2(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act (British Columbia) and has filed a return under section 29(1) of that Act in at least 2 of the 6 taxation years immediately preceding the registration date
  • (c) has not previously held a registered interest in land, whether in British Columbia or elsewhere, that constituted the individual’s principal residence, and
  • (d) has not previously obtained a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund;
  • “Habitat for Humanity” means a corporation designated by regulation of the minister;
  • “principal residence” means the usual place where an individual makes the individual’s home;
  • “property” means a parcel of land and the improvements, if any, in respect of which an application is made for
  • (a) an exemption under section 5 or 6, or
  • (b) a refund under section 7;
  • “qualifying property” means a property the fair market value of which does not, on the registration date, exceed the sum of the qualifying value of that property and $25 000;
  • “qualifying value”, in relation to a property, means $475 000;
  • “registration date” means, in respect of an eligible transaction, the date on which the application for registration of the eligible transaction is made at a land title office;
  • “residential improvement”, in respect of a property, means
  • (a) an improvement that is permanently affixed to the property and is intended to be a dwelling, or
  • (b) if only part of an improvement that is permanently affixed to the property is intended to be a dwelling, that part of the improvement that is intended to be a dwelling.
  • (2) For the purposes of the definition of “property”, if the same residential improvement is located on more than one parcel, the parcels are deemed to be one parcel.

1987-15-3.2; 1994-14-4, deemed effective March 23, 1994; 1995-11-36; 1996-9-12, deemed effective May 1, 1996; 2003-3-30, deemed effective February 19, 2003; 2004-40-47; 2005-16-33, effective February 16, 2005; 2007-1-15, effective February 21, 2007; 2007-31-27; 2008-10-88, effective February 20, 2008; 2014-4-42, effective February 19, 2014; 2016-3-48, effective February 17, 2016; 2023-10-909.



The respondent purchased an undivided fractional interest in a large apartment complex and acquired a contractual right to exclusive occupation of a particular apartment in the complex. As a first time home buyer, the respondent applied to the minister and was refused an exemption from property transfer tax under s. 4 of the Act. The trial judge found that the respondent had acquired a “parcel of land” and that the land was a “qualifying property” for the purpose of the first time home owner exemption. The Court of Appeal accepted the minister’s submission and found that the trial judge erred in equating the concept of fee simple ownership with the term “parcel of land”. The Court of Appeal followed its earlier decision in Claridge Development (Hawthorne) Ltd. v. British Columbia, 1999 BCCA 702. In that case, the court held that the term “parcel” should not be given its common or everyday meaning because of the many references in the Land Title Act to the Property Transfer Tax Act. As such, the legislature must have intended the term “parcel” to be given the narrower meaning it has in the Land Title Act. In the present case, the court allowed the minister’s appeal on the basis that it was simply straining the words past their breaking point to say that the respondent’s undivided interest in the apartment complex amounted to a unique lot, block, or other area in which land is held (Waugh v. British Columbia, 2000 BCCA 53).