Recently, York Region councillors made it clear that they want new tax powers from the province, mainly a new municipal land transfer tax (MLTT).
The Ontario Real Estate Association and Toronto Real Estate Board have come together to stand against the introduction of the new tax, which would add approximately $15,000 to the price of an average York Region home.
“It’s no secret that municipalities across Ontario have been asking the provincial government for new taxing powers,” says Tim Syrianos, President of TREB. “York Region homebuyers are already charged a provincial land transfer tax, so by adding a municipal tax, the Region will double the tax burden on local families.”
According to OREA and TREB, the tax does nothing to address the actual issue of the lack of supply. When the City of Toronto implemented its MLTT in 2008, it actually caused many potential buyers and sellers to stay in their homes, further limiting resale supply.
Seven years after Toronto introduced the MLTT, Ontario realtors, buyers, and sellers sent 34,000 letters to provincial policy makers in an effort to prevent the MLTT from spreading beyond Toronto.
“We’ve been down this road before, with municipalities asking for new taxing powers and the provincial government considering their requests,” says David Reid, President of OREA. “Each time, Realtors have stood up for young families and opposed a tax. Homebuyers need relief, not new taxes.”
OREA and TREB drew attention to the issue of the potential York Region MLTT right before the election. Now that we have a PC majority, what are the chances that a tax like this will be introduced?
We’re not sure because we can’t really be sure of much right now based on the incomplete PC platform. What we do know is that Toronto is already worried about funding drying up for social housing.
We also know that premier Doug Ford’s top priorities at the moment are probing the province’s books, overhauling Hydro One, challenging the carbon tax, revisiting the sex-ed curriculum, and ending the York University strike. That’s quite the workload, so it’s possible the potential York Region MLTT won’t be addressed any time soon.
Ford also promised to reduce taxes for families, including a tax credit for minimum wage earners, a refundable tax credit for child care, and a 20% decrease in the second middle-class tax bracket.
Approving the York Region MLTT would arguably go against his promise to reduce taxes for families because it would make buying and selling homes within the Region more expensive by thousands of dollars.