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Toronto Real Estate Board Urges City to Protect Home Ownership Affordability

TORONTO, December 2, 2002--Toronto Realtors are urging City Council to avoid property tax increases as the public process of determining the City's 2003 budget begins tomorrow.

"We hope City Council understands that property tax increases make a difference for home ownership affordability, especially to first-time buyers and retired seniors on a fixed income, who are very sensitive to any increase in the carrying costs of a home," said Ann Bosley, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

"First time buyers have been a big part of the recent strength in the real estate market. Many of these people are right on the edge of being able to afford home ownership. If the City keeps raising property taxes, as it has in the last two years, many of these people could face a greater challenge," Bosley added.

Many first-time buyers come from the rental market. In its rental survey released last week, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported that Toronto's vacancy rate almost tripled to 2.5 per cent, from 0.9 per cent last year, largely because renters are taking advantage of low lending rates to become homeowners.

Over the last few years, the City of Toronto has implemented various policies and initiatives to try to ensure an adequate supply of affordable rental housing.

"If property tax increases prevent renters from becoming owners, fewer rental units will be freed up. One of the best ways for the City to ensure an adequate supply of rental housing is to make sure that home ownership remains affordable. That means keeping property taxes down," said Bosley.

Serving the Greater Toronto Area with more than 17,500 Realtors utilizing a new state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service, the Toronto Real Estate Board is North America's largest real estate board.


* Please note that TREB counts by business or sales days. In a 30 day month, there will usually be about 20 sales days, depending on when the weekends fall, holidays,
and so on.



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