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Land Transfer Tax
Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) is Canada’s easternmost province that covers 4.1% of the total area of Canada (source: Statistics Canada). According to the census data of 2021, Newfoundland and Labrador’s population in 2021 was 510,550, a drop of 1.8% from 2016. It was the only province in Canada to witness a decline in population from 2016 to 2021. According to the income-based GDP estimates of Statistics Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador’s GDP at market prices in 2021 was over $37.9B, representing about 1.5% of Canada’s GDP. In 2020, the median after-tax income in Newfoundland and Labrador was $59,300, $7,500 below the national median for the year.
The average house price in NL for the month of November 2022 was $283,049, an approximate 5% increase compared to the previous year. This is in contrast to most Canadian provinces that have witnessed a decrease in average house prices compared to November 2021. The composite benchmark price for a house in St. John’s was $318,100, making it a much more affordable housing market compared to the bigger housing markets in the country such as the Greater Toronto housing market and the Greater Vancouver housing market, which had benchmark prices of $1,089,800 and $1,131,600 in November 2022 respectively. The average house prices in NL are fairly lower than the average Canadian house prices, with the average house price in Canada for November 2022 being $632,802.
Following the Canada-wide trend, the house sales in NL also dropped by 13.8% compared to November 2021 as a result of the multiple Bank of Canada rate hikes and the subsequent increase in mortgage rates. The average houses in NL are priced well below $500,000 and qualify for CMHC mortgage insurance, requiring only 5% down payment.
With lower transfer taxes than many other Canadian provinces, the overall home closing costs in NL are likely to be lower compared to other provinces such as Ontario and Quebec. However, most of the services that come under the umbrella of closing costs have a similar fee across Canada, and you should keep a budget of 3%-4% of the purchase price to cover closing costs. Closing costs other than transfer taxes that you must be aware of include:
In Newfoundland, land transfer tax is known as “Fees for the Registry of Deeds”, and has two parts. The first part is based on the purchase price while the second part depends on the mortgage amount. Each fee has a base fee of $100 for the first $500 of the purchase price, and $0.40 is added for every $100 after that. The maximum payable fee is $5,000 and the fee must be paid in full for the property to be registered.
For example, if you buy a house worth $300,000 in Newfoundland with a downpayment of $60,000, the land transfer tax will be –
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Unlike many other provinces, NL does not offer any first-time buyer incentives to first-time homebuyers, however, such buyers can benefit from the incentives offered by the federal government.
Newfoundland and Labrador has among the lowest cost of living of all provinces in Canada. A family of three can expect to spend $2,845, which is much lower compared to the $4,589 and $4,557 that they will pay in Ontario and B.C. respectively. This cost includes the rent for a 2-bedroom apartment along with costs for food, transport and preschool. The cost of living in the capital city of St. John’s for a family of three is $3,632, about 30% lower than that in Toronto and Vancouver.
The inflation rate in NL in November 2022 was 6.7%, 0.1% lower than the national average. However, this is 0.2% more than the 6.5% inflation rate in October 2022. (source: Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index data). Gas prices inflated at a rate of 13.7%, food prices inflated at a rate of 11% and energy prices inflated at a rate of 15.2%.
Homeowners across Canada pay property taxes to the local municipality every year. These taxes cover the cost of services provided by the municipality including public transit, police, garbage collections, fire department and schools are paid for using these taxes. The annual budget requirements of the city determine the tax rates and the rates change annually. The tax is calculated based on the assessed value of the property which is determined by the Municipal Assessment Agency, and a mill rate which is the tax amount charged per $1,000 of the property’s assessed value. The property tax rate in the capital city of St. John’s is 0.83%.