Province backs off municipal land transfer tax

The provincial government has decided not to pursue a change to law that would allow municipalities to impose a land transfer tax.

The power to demand the tax which was given to Toronto years ago would give municipalities another option for funding local services. However realtors across Ontario and in Haliburton County said the additional tax could slow real estate sales.

MPP Laurie Scott warned that the middle class would be hardest hit since they had a harder time coming up with the additional thousands of dollars it would cost to buy a home if the tax was imposed.

On a $300000 property the municipal land transfer tax would have been about $2700. On the same property the provincial tax (which already exists) would be $3000.

Area real estate brokers told the Echo in a story published in November that the tax would likely slow sales locally.

Scott’s office issued a press release last week expressing her pleasure at the government’s about-face.

“Affordable home ownership is becoming a growing challenge for so many Ontarians already. The MLTT [municipal land transfer tax] would hit homebuyers with an average of $10000 in new taxes” said Scott.

Her release credits the Progressive Conservative caucus with stopping the tax through the advocacy of the Ontario Real Estate Association.

OREA called the announcement “a huge win for Ontario’s home owners” and the Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of Realtors called the change  “the biggest government relations win in the history of the Ontario Real Estate Association.”

“This positive outcome for our communities couldn’t have been accomplished if it weren’t for the incredible support and mobilization of local realtors along with their strong ties within their community” said Lakelands Association president Tom Wilkinson. “Standing together and working very hard to spread the word about the potential for this unsustainable and unfair tax was an amazing feat. I want to thank everyone for their commitment to Ontario.”