TORONTO, November 25, 2013 -- In light of the launch of the City of Toronto's 2014 budget-setting process, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released the results of new public opinion research that shows a strong majority of Torontonians, 69 percent, support a phase-out of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, up four points from May 2013.
The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid and found that:
Seven in ten Torontonians, 69 percent, support a phase-out of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.
30 percent of recent first-time home buyers, in Toronto, had to pay some Toronto Land Transfer because City Hall's first-time buyer rebate is insufficient because it has not kept pace with inflation.
72 percent of Torontonians planning to purchase a home in the next two years are more likely to consider purchasing outside of Toronto to avoid paying the Toronto Land transfer tax.
"Torontonians overwhelmingly support a phase-out of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. They have waited long enough. A phase-out of this unfair tax should start with the City's 2014 budget," said Dianne Usher, TREB President.
Toronto is the only municipality in Ontario where home buyers are forced to pay a municipal land transfer tax. This tax costs the buyer of an average detached Toronto home $12,500, which has to be paid in full to City Hall, up front, as a closing cost, and cannot be tacked on to a mortgage. This is in addition to a similar amount payable to the Province.
"This tax penalizes growing families and retirees simply for changing their living arrangements to accommodate their new needs and priorities at a time when they can least afford it. It even forces many first-time buyers, who often struggle to save for a down payment, to pay thousands because the City's first-time buyer rebate has not kept pace with inflation," said Usher. "Furthermore, because of the way the tax is structured, even someone purchasing a home priced below the City's current average price of $564,000, is being charged the highest Land Transfer Tax rate, which kicks in on homes priced over $400,000."
The amount that City Hall collects in Land Transfer Tax from each average re-sale home purchase has increased by 78 percent since the tax took effect in 2008, more than twice the rate of home price increases over the same time period.
"City Hall has been cashing in on the Land Transfer Tax at a rate that greatly outpaces inflation," said Usher.
REALTORS® are also highlighting the surplus generated by the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.
"City Hall has collected over $300 million more than budgeted from the Land Transfer Tax, since it took effect in 2008. That means home buyers are being over-taxed," said Von Palmer, TREB's Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer.
TREB will be participating in the City's 2014 Budget process, and is encouraging the public to speak out against the Toronto Land Transfer Tax at www.LetsGetThisRightToronto.ca.
"We have been consistently, and loudly, speaking out on behalf of Torontonians on this issue and we will continue to do so because it is the right thing to do," added Palmer.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted from Oct 30th to Nov 4th on behalf of TREB. For this survey a sample of 600 residents of the City of Toronto was interviewed online. The results are accurate to within +/- 4.6 percentage points had all Torontonians been surveyed.