Thursday, August 30, 2007

Torontonians deserve thoughtful and fair approach to City’s financial challenges: Toronto REALTORS®

In response to recent City of Toronto announcements regarding theCity’s fiscal situation, Toronto’s REALTORS® are calling on Mayor Miller, City Councillors andprovincial politicians to consider thoughtful and fair options preferred by Torontonians, instead of justnew taxation or cuts to core services.
REALTORS® have been watching the actions of City and Provincial politicians since Toronto CityCouncil decided to defer consideration of a second land transfer tax, which would mean a 100 per centincrease, or over $4,000 in extra costs for the average Toronto home buyer, if approved.
“The public has been clear that a second land transfer tax is simply not a fair way to address the City’sbudget shortfall. It discriminates against homebuyers by forcing them to shoulder a disproportionate andunfair burden,” said Donald Bentley, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). “The secondland transfer tax should be taken off the table immediately and the public should be given thoughtfulchoices instead.”
TREB points out that a second land transfer tax will impact average people. According to the CanadaMortgage and Housing Corporation, in Toronto’s condominium market, where most investment activityoccurs, approximately 80 per cent of units are owned by people who live in them. Investment activity iseven lower when all residences are considered.
“REALTORS® know first hand that the Toronto real estate market is dominated by people buyinghomes to live in them, not by investors or speculators,” added Bentley. “A second land transfer tax willbe felt the most by real, hard-working, people with the dream of home ownership. In today’s market, itis not uncommon for these people to move every five years or so; they will feel the sting of the secondland transfer tax many times”.
REALTORS® believe that a fair approach to addressing Toronto’s fiscal situation should includeimmediate and adequate provincial action, prioritizing the City’s core services, and making sureservices are delivered efficiently.
“The choice isn’t simply between new taxes or cuts to core services. The public knows better and theydeserve better. There are other options. The City has to get its house in order and all provincialpoliticians have to step up to the plate with firm, adequate and immediate commitments,” said Bentley.“The recent announcements from the Provincial Party leaders regarding municipal finances show thatpublic opinion is having an impact, but the public is expecting and demanding more.”
While TREB believes that provincial action is a key part of the solution, REALTORS® are also callingfor an impartial third-party review of the City’s budget so that the public can have an accurateunderstanding of the City’s fiscal situation.
“The public has the right to demand openness so that they can truly understand what makes up theCity’s shortfall. The City shouldn’t be hesitant to ask for a second opinion on where savings can befound and other options,” added Bentley.
REALTORS® are also questioning the City’s current approach to cost containment, noting that theCity’s Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer is currently in the process of determining whatthe City’s core services are.
“Frankly, it’s shocking that the City would choose to pursue new taxes before identifying discretionaryservices. The public know their priorities and they expect the City to focus their existing tax dollars onthose core services, while finding savings in discretionary areas. The City’s recent cost containmentefforts seem to have ignored various options that may be preferred by the public”, said Bentley.
TREB plans to continue opposing the unfair second land transfer tax. More information is available a t
Toronto REALTORS® are passionate about their work. They adhere to a strict code of ethicsand share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service. Serving more than 25,000 Members in theGreater Toronto Area, the Toronto Real Estate Board is Canada's largest real estate board.Greater Toronto Area open house listings are now available on

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

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