Higher fees loom for Ontario new-home buyers

Prospective new-home buyers in Ontario might want to act sooner than later, as proposed changes from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing could result in higher Development Charges and other fees for new homes.The provincial government is proposing reforms to the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act intended to “give residents a greater say in how their communities grow and would provide more opportunities to fund community services like transit and recycling.”According to the Ministry, the proposed Planning Act changes, if passed, would:

  • Ensure residents are better consulted at the beginning of the planning process for new developments.
  • Encourage residents to provide feedback on the future of their communities.
  • Help municipalities resolve potential planning disputes earlier, reducing involvement of the Ontario Municipal Board in local disputes.
  • Extend the review of new municipal official plans to 10 years, instead of the current five-year cycle.

Changes to the Development Charges Act, if passed, would:

  • Help municipalities recover costs for transit services and waste diversion.
  • Create clear reporting requirements for capital projects municipalities financed though development charges, as well as section 37 of the Planning Act related to density bonusing and parkland dedication.

The Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), however, has a slightly different view of the proposed changes.“Municipalities are going to pile on a new transit tax on new-home buyers and businesses,” OHBA CEO Joe Vaccaro told New Home & Condo Guide. “Those new neighbours ultimately pay every new tax generated by government in the price of their new home.“Municipalities collected almost $2 billion for new neighbours in 2013, and included in that are taxes for transportation, but this will allow them to further increase that tax on new-home buyers. This is a disproportionate placement of taxes on new-home buyers/new neighbours.”OHBA is the voice of the building, land development and professional renovation industry in Ontario, representing 4,000 member companies in 31 local associations across the province. The industry contributes more than $42 billion to Ontario’s economy, OHBA says, employing more than 325,000 people across the province.“New neighbours deserve to know how their money is being used, and municipalities have a responsibility to them,” says Vaccaro. “OHBA is advocating for fairness, transparency and accountability from municipalities on how these new revenue tools are being utilized, what projects they are moving forward with and timelines for completion.”Related reading:Trends in lowrise homes in the GTAGTA new home sales off to strong start in 20151 crane, 500 jobs: New home industry an economic engine

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