Take Action on Affordable Housing, GTA REALTORS® Tell City

TORONTO, June 16, 2008 -- With the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Committee hearing input from the public about a proposed affordable housing strategy today, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is calling on the City to take action on affordable housing.

“Actions speak louder than words. REALTORS® are encouraged that the City is developing an affordable housing strategy, but recent City decisions, especially the implementation of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, directly contradict this initiative,” said Maureen O’Neill, President of TREB.

TREB submitted its input in a detailed written submission, which raised concerns about new and increasing City-imposed costs on home ownership including a land transfer tax, property taxes, development charges, garbage fees, and water rates. TREB’s submission calls on the City to use the forthcoming affordable housing strategy to reverse this trend.

“All levels of government, including the City of Toronto, should do their part to address affordable housing challenges. With the forthcoming strategy, the City can send a strong message that it supports home buyers,” said O’Neill.

The proposed strategy sets specific targets for the number of households to assist in various categories.

TREB is calling on the City to increase the number of households that it is targeting to assist with achieving home ownership.

“Addressing affordable housing requires comprehensive solutions. Owning a home is the preferred option for most people. The City can, and should, include ambitious targets for home ownership in its affordable housing strategy,” said O’Neill.

To help achieve ambitious home-ownership targets, TREB believes that City-imposed housing costs should be reduced.

“The easiest way for the City to contribute to affordable housing solutions is to reduce the costs that it imposes on home buyers and owners. The Toronto Land Transfer Tax is one of the biggest costs faced by home buyers, and it should be rolled back,” said O’Neill. “Development charges also add costs for homebuyers; they should be kept fair and the City should consider targeted exemptions for affordable housing.”

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