Toronto REALTORS® Highlighting Need for Land Transfer Tax Relief during Municipal Election Campaign

TORONTO, October 22, 2014 -- With less than one week to go before Toronto voters select a new City Council, Toronto’s REALTORS® continued to raise concerns about the Toronto Land Transfer Tax with Mayoral candidates at TREB’s Annual General Meeting. 

“TREB’s municipal election efforts are focused on where the candidates stand on the issues that are a priority to REALTORS® and their clients, especially the Land Transfer Tax. REALTORS® look forward to working with the next City Council to ensure that home buyers and owners are treated fairly,” said Paul Etherington, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board.  

“With that in mind, 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,” continued Mr. Etherington. 

Polling conducted by Ipsos Reid in May 2014, found that a majority (51%) of Torontonians are more likely to vote for Mayoral or Councillor candidates who support reducing or eliminating the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, while only 10 percent would be less likely.  

“Toronto voters want municipal election candidates to commit to providing relief from the Land Transfer Tax.  This tax costs the purchaser of an average Toronto home about $8,000, up front, on top of a similar amount for the provincial Land Transfer Tax.  This is a huge cost that hits people when they can least afford it, like when they need to move because their family is growing or later in life as their lifestyle needs, and income, change.  This is an important issue for many Torontonians, and we expect it will influence their voting decisions,” said Etherington.

Independent research has demonstrated that the Toronto Land Transfer Tax is having a negative impact on the City’s economy.  A 2012 study conducted by the C.D. Howe Institute found that the Toronto Land Transfer Tax has dampened Toronto home sales by 16% annually.  

A new study, released in April 2014, conducted by Altus Group Economic Consulting, found a significant loss of economic activity in the City of Toronto, and a corresponding loss of thousands of jobs, due to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.  The study found that, between 2008 and 2013, the Toronto Land Transfer Tax is responsible for

“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,” said Von Palmer, TREB’s Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer.