The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) are fighting a City of Toronto proposal that would increase land transfer taxes on homebuyers.
TREB has launched a website to shed light on the proposed changes, which it says could add thousands of dollars in upfront tax for some home buyers. TREB also released the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. It found that:
- 59 per cent of Torontonians oppose including Land Transfer Tax increases in the city’s strategy to balance its budget.
- 67 per cent of Torontonians support increasing the Land Transfer Tax rebate for first-time buyers to reduce the amount of tax that first-time buyers are required to pay.
- 58 per cent of Torontonians oppose changing the city’s Land Transfer Tax policy to add an additional 0.5 per cent to the value of a home between $250,000 and $400,000.
“City Council should be trying to make home ownership more attainable, not less. These poll results show that the last thing Torontonians want is for City Hall to put up another obstacle to achieving their dream of home ownership, especially in a city where we should be trying to make housing more affordable,” says Larry Cerqua, TREB president.
TREB says the proposed changes being discussed would add an additional 0.5 per cent of tax on all buyers. For repeat home buyers purchasing an average priced home, this would mean a seven per cent increase of $750 on top of the $11,000 that they already pay to the city. For first-time buyers, it would mean a 6.5 per cent increase of $475, “or, at best, the status quo, if the current rebate is not adjusted higher than what is currently being proposed,” says TREB.
OREA CEO Tim Hudak says, “Ultimately, Toronto needs to roll back the LTT or, at the very least, not make this punishing tax even worse. Voting down the proposal to increase the LTT is a good first step but I encourage council to go even further. To start, Toronto should follow Ontario’s lead and double the city land transfer tax rebate for first-time home buyers.”
As of Jan.1, 2017, Premier Wynne doubled the provincial land transfer tax rebate program, so first-time home buyers receive up to $4,000 in land transfer tax relief. If the city matched the provincial relief, first-time buyers in Toronto would see up to $12,000 in tax savings, Hudak says
“Unfortunately, Toronto is proposing to swipe up to 25 per cent of the provincial savings out of the pockets of young couples and put it into city coffers instead.”
Toronto City Council will set its final budget in February.