Canadian Housing Tax Break
Due to Canadas tax systems Principal Residence Exemption, when we sell our homes, any increased value or capital gains are not taxed.
This generous tax break matters to Canadian homeowners. Collectively, we have about $3 trillion in home equity and our homes are often our largest financial asset.
However, starting with our 2016 income tax returns, there are some changes in how homeowners qualify for the Principal Residence Exemption.
Until now, the Canada Revenue Agency has not required Canadians to report on a home sale when during tax season. If you sold your home in 2016 or later, you will need to complete a Schedule 3, Capital Gains of the T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return in order to report your sale.
The good news is that, in terms of taxes, nothing has changed. The same tax benefit is available to anyone who sells their home, provided the property was the principal residence for every year you owned it even if you use part of your home for business purposes. There is no new tax involved only a requirement that we report the sale details on our tax returns.
So, if there is still no tax to pay, why the extra paperwork?
When it comes to taxes, not everyone plays by the rules. The Principal Residence Exemption is a very generous tax break and it is occasionally misused by those involved in speculative house flipping in order to evade taxes on their profits. In these cases, people were claiming the exemption for homes they owned, but may never have lived in. Reporting these sales allows the government to make sure that only eligible homeowners get the benefit that they are entitled to.
So, if you sold you home in 2016, make sure to report the sale when you file your 2016 tax return. You will still get the same tax break and you will help prevent the misuse of this important homeowner tax benefit.
Record December caps record year for Canadian home sales
Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales set another all-time record in December 2020.
Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS Systems jumped by 7.2% between November and December to set another new all-time record.
Seasonally adjusted activity was running at an annualized pace of 714,516 units in December 2020 the first time on record that monthly sales at seasonally adjusted annual rates have ever topped the 700,000 mark.
The month-over-month increase in national sales activity from November to December was driven by gains of more than 20% in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Greater Vancouver.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity posted a 47.2% y-o-y gain in December the largest year-over-year increase in monthly sales in 11 years. It was a new record for the month of December by a margin of more than 12,000 transactions. For the sixth straight month, sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets compared to the same month in 2019.
For 2020 as a whole, some 551,392 homes traded hands over Canadian MLS Systems a new annual record. This is an increase of 12.6% from 2019 and stood 2.3% above the previous record set back in 2016.
Mortgage Deferral Agreements and Their Impact
CMHCs Fall 2020 Residential Mortgage Industry Dashboard discusses mortgage deferral agreements and their impact.
At the end of the second quarter, credit unions, mortgage finance companies (MFCs) and mortgage investment entities (MIEs) have allowed mortgage deferral agreements for about 6%, 7% and 7% of their respective residential mortgage portfolios.
Chartered banks have allowed 16% of mortgages to go into deferral since the beginning of the pandemic. Of these, close to 2 out of 3 borrowers had resumed payments on their mortgages at the end of the third quarter of 2020. In the coming months, we could see higher delinquency rates if some borrowers are unable to resume their payments; these mortgages will have to be booked as arrears.
These deferral agreements have affected financial institutions cash flows, with reductions of:
4% in scheduled mortgage payments
3% in non-scheduled payments (accelerated monthly payments and lump-sum payments)
While remaining at low levels, mortgages in arrears (90 or more days delinquent) have increased slightly between the first and second quarters of 2020 from:
0.24% to 0.26%, on average, for chartered banks
0.23% to 0.25%, on average, for non-bank mortgage lenders
We also observe an increase in early-stage delinquencies (31 to 59 days and 60 to 89 days), which suggests that arrears could continue on an upward trend.