On March 22nd, OREA’s Government Relations Committee member and Toronto REALTOR® Johnmark Roberts appeared in front for the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs to present recommendations on behalf Ontario REALTORS® and real estate industry. Two issues were discussed in detail.
First, Mr. Roberts, accompanied by OREA Government Relations staff, reinforced REALTOR® desire for the electronic agreements of purchase and sale. Currently, the agreement of purchase and sale is specifically exempt from the legal protections of the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000, making REALTORS® reluctant to utilize modern day technology in their transactions. Earlier this month, OREA welcomed the private member’s bill from MPP Todd Smith that would eliminate the exemption. OREA applauds the bill and urges all MPPs to work together to pass it. OREA also recommended that the government include the proposed amendment in the 2013 Ontario Budget.
Mr. Roberts focused the rest of his presentation on articulating OREA’s vigorous opposition to the potential spread of the municipal land transfer tax across Ontario. Currently, the city of Toronto is the only Ontario municipality able to levy a second LTT in addition to the provincial one. However, as municipalities struggle to fund transit and new infrastructure, some big city mayors have voiced a desire for additional taxing power such as a municipal LTT.
Research has proved that the tax slows down the market, hurts the local economy and makes municipalities less attractive places to live.
As a result of Toronto’s LTT, average home buyers pay close to $12,000 in land transfer taxes, about half to the provincial government and half to the city. A recent study by the C.D. Howe Institute demonstrated that LTT dampened home sales by 16 per cent in Toronto resulting in 3,500 fewer transactions. Moreover, the city lost on $140 million in spin off revenue resulting from the new homeowners renovating and spending on various services.
The second LTT restricts people’s mobility and might encourage them to leave the area. A recent Ipsos Reid poll found that 75% of people in Toronto and surrounding areas expected to move are more likely to relocate outside of the city specifically because of the second LTT.
OREA along with its local boards will continue working with provincial and municipal decision makers to prevent the tax that would burden home buyers and slow down the market.
In its pre-budget submission, OREA also recommended creating a province-wide registry for marijuana grow operations and urged the government to amend the Real Estate Business Brokers Act in order to allow real estate salespeople to incorporate. Follow the link to view OREA’s submission.