TORONTO, December 11, 2013 -- The Toronto Real Estate Board(TREB) is sounding the alarm over a potential proposal that would see first-time home buyers in Toronto paying more Toronto Home Buying Tax (Land Transfer Tax). TREB is responding to published comments indicating that the City's Budget Committee may consider a proposal to eliminate the Toronto Home Buying Tax on the first $200,000 value of a property, for all home buyers, but to also eliminate the current rebate that relieves first-time home buyers from paying Home Buying Tax on the first $400,000 value of a property. This potential proposal, if implemented, would result in first-time home buyers paying more home buying tax than what they currently pay.
"REALTORS® are encouraged that the City's Budget Chief and Budget Committee are actively considering options to provide relief, to home buyers, from the Home Buying Tax; however, we believe strongly that all Toronto home buyers deserve relief from this hurtful tax, including first-time home buyers," said Dianne Usher, TREB President.
In a letter to the City's Budget Committee, TREB pointed out that many first time home buyers are already being forced to pay thousands of dollars in Home Buying Tax because the first-time buyer rebate has not kept pace with inflation. Currently, this rebate caps out on a $400,000 property, but the current average price of a home in Toronto is approximately $570,000, and rising. As a result, approximately 40 percent of first-time buyers pay some Home Buying Tax to City Hall, according to City staff reports.
"Even first-time home buyers purchasing BELOW average-priced properties are being forced to pay thousands of dollars in Toronto Home Buying tax. Any proposal to eliminate the first-time buyer rebate would make this situation worse. First-time home buyers deserve more relief, not less," said Von Palmer, TREB's Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer.
"We have pointed out many times that the Home Buying Tax hurts people when they can least afford it. First-time home buyers are a perfect example of this. Many first-time home buyers struggle to save for a down payment for that first home they are dreaming of. Every penny counts to them, and the Home Buying Tax makes that dream more difficult to achieve," said Usher.
Mary Gallagher, Senior Manager Public Affairs
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