Toronto realtors renew call to repeal Land Transfer Tax

Toronto realtors have long been campaigning for the City to repeal the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, renewing the call at the recent TREB Annual General Meeting.

In a news release, Paul Etherington, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, stated that “TREB supports councillor Ford’s commitment to reduce the Land Transfer Tax. We believe John Tory understands the problems with the Land Transfer Tax and we hope that he will articulate a plan to provide the relief from this tax that voters want. On the other hand, TREB does not support Olivia Chow’s proposal to increase the Land Transfer Tax. City Hall should be reducing its reliance on this unfair and hurtful tax, not increasing it.”

A recent poll by Ipsos Reid indicates just how important the matter is to Torontonians. In the poll conducted in May 2014, 51 per cent of Torontonians claimed they are more likely to vote for mayoral candidates who plan to eliminate, or at least reduce, the Land Transfer Tax.

On average, Torontonians pay $8,000 up front, on top of the Provincial Land Transfer Tax. This double tax, TREB argues, makes individuals and families increasingly wary of purchasing a home, which negatively impacts the city’s economy. In 2012, C.D. Howe Institute conducted a study and found that the Toronto Land Transfer Tax has reduced annual home sales by 16 per cent.

Additionally, a 2014 study conducted by Altus Group Economic Consulting found other economic implications of the Land Transfer Tax including:

– A loss of $2.3 billion in economic activity
– A reduction of $1.2 billion in GDP
– A loss of 14,934 full time jobs
– A loss of $772 million in wages and salaries
– A loss of 38,278 resale home transactions

TREB refuses to back down. Von Palmer, TREB’s chief government and public affairs officer, states that, “The Toronto Real Estate Board looks forward to continuing to highlight the impact of the Toronto home buying tax during the municipal election campaign, and raising this issue, along with the public, with municipal election candidates. We believe that Torontonians will, once again, expect City Council to take action on this issue.”

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