With its beautiful landscapes, diverse culture and world-class resorts, Whistler has been a preferred destination for long and short term residents many years now. Every year over 3 million visitors make the trip to this diverse mountain town that also has over 12,000 permanent residents. With all of its attractions, Whistler has emerged as a favoured destination for those seeking to invest in property too. If you are considering buying a home in Whistler, here are some important factors about the intricate local laws and costs that you should consider.
Zoning & Covenant By-Laws
Being a resort community, Whistler has a range of zoning and covenant by-laws according to type of property and location. While this might make the Whistler real estate market seem a little complex at first, with the help of professional advice from Sea To Sky Dream Team real estate agents, you can navigate these and set about buying a home in Whistler with ease.
Residential zoning is predominantly found in residential neighbourhoods around Whistler’s centre, such as Alpine Meadows, Bayshores and Blueberry Hill. If you are buying a home in Whistler to live in, or as a second home, then you can safely buy a residentially zoned property. You are allowed to rent property out under this zoning rule, but only on a long term basis of one month or more.
Tourist Accommodation Zoning
Tourist accommodation zoning homes can get rented out for short-term periods as well. If you are looking to buy property in Whistler for investment, then this is the best option for you. Remember to check whether the particular property has a covenant that will impact your usage, or ask one of us to help.
If your Whistler property comes under the Phase 1 covenant, you can enjoy unrestricted personal use and the option to do short-term leases. Such properties are found in townhouses and condominiums across Whistler.
Some properties – generally in large hotels – fall under the more restrictive Phase 2 covenant. Their owners can use them for up to 56 days per year; the property gets leased out for the remainder of the year. This suits those who either plan to stay in Whistler only for a couple of weeks per year, or are considering buying a home in Whistler purely as a source of revenue.
Costs Associated with Buying Whistler Property
If you are planning to buy a home in Whistler, then factor in some additional costs, apart from the purchase price:
A lawyer will help you review your contracts, draft your mortgage papers, and facilitate the property title transfer and registration. Fees can vary according to complexity.
Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
This is a mandatory provincial tax on the transfer of all real estate in British Columbia, calculated as 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price, 2% on the next $1,800,000, and 3% of the purchase price that exceeds $2,000,0000. First-time buyers might be able to claim PTT exemption.
Goods & Services Tax (GST)
5% GST is payable on the purchase of new construction or accommodation previously used for short-term rentals. This payment can be deferred if the new owner also intends to use the property for short-terms rentals, and registers for GST.
Apart from legal fees, you should also budget for land title registration fees, and appraisal fee (if relevant).
Ranging from 0.5% to 1% of the property value, property tax is levied annually and paid to the Municipality of Whistler.
Tourism Whistler Fees
Payment of Tourism Whistler Fees is done on a quarterly basis, paid to Tourism Whistler and calculated according to the number of bed units in the property. If you are buying a Whistler property for your own long term stay and don’t intend to rent it out, you can apply for a reduced rate.
While looking at townhouses or condominiums in Whistler do check out the Strata fees as well. These are essentially the monthly maintenance charges that cover things like building insurance, garbage disposal and recreation facilities.
It is mandatory for a home buyer to arrange home insurance for single-family homes and liability and contents insurance for strata-titled properties.
To find the most suitable Whistler homes for yourself, or to shortlist great investment properties in Whistler, contact us today. We are one of the top-selling teams in Whistler, so the purchase or sale of your home is in safe hands.