TORONTO, May 31, 2018 -- York Region councillors are demanding new tax powers from the province, and they have their eyes set on the municipal land transfer tax (MLTT). If implemented, the tax would add over $15,000 to an average priced York Region home, impacting housing affordability for all home buyers and making the Canadian dream of home ownership less achievable for thousands of young buyers. This could set a dangerous precedent for housing affordability across the wider Greater Toronto Area and the rest of the province.
The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) are urging MPP candidates in York Region to say ‘no’ to another tax on home buyers, noting the effects of such a tax will be as detrimental as they have been on Toronto. This tax does nothing to address the real issue facing the GTA housing market: the need for more supply. This sort of tax is also an unreliable revenue source.
“It’s no secret that municipalities across Ontario have been asking the provincial government for new taxing powers,” said Tim Syrianos, President of TREB. “York Region home buyers are already charged a provincial land transfer tax, so by adding a municipal tax, the Region will double the tax burden on local families. If local councillors get their way, home buyers will be forced to pay $15,000 more in land transfer taxes on the average priced home in York Region.”
When the City of Toronto first implemented the MLTT in 2008, home buyers were hit with a big tax increase. Moving from one home to another suddenly became costlier for potential home sellers, by adding thousands of dollars to every transaction. This has caused many home owners to stay put, further limiting supply of the critical missing middle (that fills the gap between single family homes and high rises) housing types in the marketplace.
“We’ve been down this road before, with municipalities asking for new taxing powers and the provincial government considering their requests,” said David Reid, President of OREA. “Each time, Realtors have stood up for young families and opposed a tax. Home buyers need relief, not new taxes. We hope voters in York Region will consider where their local candidates stand on this issue before casting their ballot on June 7th.”
In 2015, Ontario Realtors, home buyers and sellers sent 34,000 letters to provincial policy makers, demanding a stop to the spread of the MLTT outside of Toronto. With the election exactly one week away, Ontario Realtors are urging all provincial and York Region provincial candidates to show their support for Ontario home owners, buyers and sellers by opposing the spread of the MLTT beyond Toronto. They are also asking all Ontarians to email their local candidates urging them to oppose the tax.
Media are invited to attend a provincial election debate at the Toronto Congress Centre from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. on May 31, 2018, hosted by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). The discussion will focus on key real estate, housing and other major election issues that have a significant impact on the Greater Toronto Area.
Following the debate, a news conference will be held jointly by TREB and OREA regarding provincial changes to grant municipalities, including those in the GTA, new taxing powers, such as the imposition of a Municipal Land Transfer Tax in York Region.