Toronto

Don't hike 'punishing' land transfer tax, realtor advocate says to city council

Toronto's city council would be "greedy" if it increased the municipal land transfer tax to raise revenue because the fee is already "punishing," says the head of an organization that represents Ontario real estate agents.

Tim Hudak, head of Ontario Real Estate Association, says an increase would be 'greedy'

Increasing the municipal land transfer tax would be a 'greedy' move by Toronto city council, says Tim Hudak, CEO-designate of the Ontario Real Estate Association. ((CBC))

Toronto's city council would be "greedy" if it hiked the municipal land transfer tax to raise revenue because the tax is already "punishing," says the head of an organization that represents Ontario real estate brokers.

Tim Hudak, CEO-designate of the Ontario Real Estate Association, told Metro Morning on Tuesday that any increase could put the dream of home ownership out of reach for first-time homebuyers.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the city's budget committee is expected to consider road tolls, taxes on hotels and short-term rentals, as well as an increase in the municipal land transfer tax, as possible revenue tools.

"The land transfer tax is already very punishing in the City of Toronto. This will put the dream of home ownership in Toronto further out of reach," Hudak said.

"It all adds up. Housing, after alcohol and tobacco, is one of our highest taxed products."

Hudak, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, said the city already raises about $600 million annually through its portion of the land transfer tax. Homebuyers also pay a provincial land transfer tax.

"I think going back is greedy," Hudak said.

In November, the Ontario government announced it plans to double the maximum rebate on the provincial tax that is offered to first-time homebuyers, starting next year.

Under the move, first-time buyers won't pay any land transfer tax on the first $368,000 of a purchase price, and they will become eligible for a rebate of up to $4,000 in provincial land transfer tax, levied on the purchase of every house and condominium. 

Hudak said if the city increases the municipal land transfer tax, it would effectively be "clawing back" the additional rebate to be offered by the province.