The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) recently launched a website, anotherobstacle.ca, to inform citizens on proposed changes to the city’s Land Transfer Tax (LTT). The proposed changes could add thousands of dollars in upfront tax for some home buyers.
TREB is also releasing the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs from Dec. 29, 2016 to Jan. 4, 2017, which shows that the majority (59 per cent) of Torontonians believe the City’s Land Transfer Tax should not be part of the plan to balance the city’s budget for 2017. Other results of the poll include that two-thirds (67 per cent) of Torontonians support increasing the LTT rebate for first-time buyers to reduce the amount of tax they must pay, and that 58 per cent of those polled oppose the proposal to change the city’s LTT policy to add an extra 0.5 per cent to the value of a home between $250,000 and $400,000.
“We are releasing these poll results today, in conjunction with our deputation to the city’s Budget Committee and the launch of our public website, anotherobstacle.ca, to deliver one simple message: City Council should be trying to make home ownership more attainable, not less,” said Larry Cerqua, TREB president, in a press release. “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.”
Various proposed changes to the city’s Land Transfer Tax are concerning to the TREB, including an additional 0.5 per cent of tax on all buyers; and the elimination of the first-time buyer rebate completely for those purchasing a home over a certain threshold, which is currently being contemplated at $700,000 by city staff. This is troubling because the proposed threshold is well below the current average price of a home in Toronto, according to TREB.
“First-time buyers deserve more help, not less; and the status quo is simply not good enough,” said Von Palmer, TREB’s chief government and public affairs officer. “The provincial government recognized this, recently, by doubling their rebate for first-time buyers. That helps with the $12,000 in LTT that home buyers pay to the province on an average priced home. Unfortunately, under these proposals, Toronto first-time home buyers could be going backwards or standing still, while first-time home buyers in the rest of the province are going forward.”