Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, buying a home is a daunting and anxiety-provoking prospect.
There are so many things to consider: what neighbourhood, house style, number of bedrooms and on and on. Then there are the costs: real estate fees, lawyer fees, home inspection, land transfer fees and HST.
The HST is one of those sneaky costs that often get overlooked. And even though it’s been in effect since 2010, there is still a lot of confusion around the ins and outs of this much-maligned tax.
If you are buying a resale home you’re in luck because there is no HST on the purchase price of the house. That’s because sales tax did not apply to resale homes under the previous PST.
Unfortunately, if you are buying brand new, you will have to pay HST. But the good news is that there are rebates available on most new home purchases. For homes under $350,000, buyers can apply for a rebate on the federal portion of the tax to a maximum of $6,300. For homes between $350,000 and $450,000, the rebate on the federal piece of the HST would be reduced proportionately. Homes over $450,000 aren’t eligible for this rebate. But all new home purchasers in Ontario can apply for a rebate on the provincial portion of the HST to a maximum of $24,000.
Given that the average cost of a house in Ontario is about $400,000, the HST can certainly add up and in this case rings in at $52,000.
HST also applies to such services as moving costs, legal fees, home inspection fees, appraisal fees, the labour you pay on renovations and landscaping and on real estate agent commissions.
It’s estimated that the average home buyer spends an extra $1,200 to $1,500 in HST when moving from one home to the next.