Developer drops the HST on new condos in New Westminster
One development company is so confident the harmonized sales tax (HST) will be overturned in the June referendum, it has promised to pay the tax on its New Westminster condos if British Columbians don’t vote it out.
At a press conference Tuesday, Wanson Development announced it is refusing to charge HST on 160 condominiums and townhomes at Eight West, located on Eighth Avenue and First Street near McBride Boulevard.
“We are putting hundreds of thousands of dollars of our own money up as collateral because we believe the HST will be overturned,” said project spokesman Bill Morrison.
Morrison said in areas like New Westminster the sales tax has discouraged new home buyers, while driving the price of resale homes higher than the cost of new homes.
He said at Eight West, homes are priced less than comparable seven-year-old resale homes across the street and throughout the city.
“As a result, the decision to buy new or used is determined by the requirement to pay HST,” he said.
He said the HST has ultimately damaged one of B.C.’s largest economic drivers, the home industry.
“The HST is not an issue that’s going away,” said New West Mayor Wayne Wright, who attended the press conference, held at the Eight West sales centre.
“My bottom line is, it’s a great development for the city and it’s in a terrific location,” Wright said, noting its proximity to schools, parks, shopping and transportation. He said Wanson’s move to drop the HST is “pretty encouraging.”
“As far as for the public, if it helps them to be able to get into a home in our city I’d be happy,” he said. “It looks like it’s going to be a very positive thing.”
When complete, Eight West will consist of two buildings covering a full city block. It is expected to be finished in November 2012.