Federal budget offers good news for homebuyers and homeowners

VANCOUVER, B.C. - January 29, 2009

Yesterday's federal budget offered a number of initiatives to benefit homebuyers and homeowners in our communities. "The housing measures tabled in yesterday's budget will go a long way to addressing local economic uncertainties, consumer confidence and the quality of life in our neighbourhoods," said REBGV president Dave Watt. "Home sales are so important to our economy. Each time a home changes hands, the transaction generates significant spin-offs and jobs because homebuyers also purchase furniture, appliances, carpeting, and numerous other goods and services related to their homes."

The federal budget announced a new First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit of up to $750 to help homebuyers with closing costs such as land transfer taxes and legal fees, a new Home Renovation Tax Credit of up to $1,350 for homeowners who renovate, a new funding program for ecoENERGY retrofits that provides home and property owners up to $5,000 for energy improvements and a new social housing program.

The federal budget also announced an increase to the Home Buyers' Plan withdrawal limit to $25,000 from $20,000. The Plan was first introduced in 1992 to help first-time homebuyers by allowing them to withdraw from their RRSPs to buy a home. The withdrawal limit had not been increased since then. Eligible couples can now withdraw up to $50,000. The REBGV has advocated these changes for many years, and, in 2008 received support from Delta-Richmond East MP John Cummins who introduced a private members' bill and personally raised the issue with colleagues from all parties, including the Minister of Finance.

"The federal budget demonstrates that the Government of Canada is listening to our concerns and paying attention to what we have to say," said Watt. "As a result of the budget announcements, homeownership today is more accessible and more affordable for all Canadians."
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