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This mayoral candidate promises to eliminate land transfer tax if elected

Mayoral Candidate Anthony Furey said Tuesday he’d eliminate the municipal land transfer tax for first-time home buyers and work to eventually eliminate it for all buyers if elected.

“We need to do all we can to support young families struggling with housing affordability,” Furey said. “Removing the municipal land transfer tax is the most meaningful thing a mayor can do to assist families in making their dreams of home ownership come true.”

Toronto introduced the municipal land transfer tax under David Miller in 2008 and is the only municipality in Ontario to charge it. The charge comes on top of the provincial land transfer tax.

Furey said the move would allow young families to save close to $20,000 on their first purchase in a market that’s increasingly unaffordable.

Currently, there is a partial exemption for first-time home buyers and none for other buyers.

With an average home price in Toronto of $1,054,563, the municipal land transfer tax amounts to about $17,500. First-time home buyers can apply to the city for a rebate of up to $4,475, bringing the municipal portion down to around $13,000.

“Toronto residents tell me housing affordability is a key concern this election and this measure is an important tool the city has at its disposal that I want to use to help families,” Furey said.

He said he would implement a 25 per cent reduction in the tax for all buyers each year, over four years until it is totally phased out and added that the tax is an “unreliable source of revenue” for the city anyhow due to fluctuations in the market.

City staff have recognized some of that volatility and have sought to mitigate it by directing some of the revenue from the tax toward capital expenses in order to reduce the city’s reliance on the money for operating costs.

The city’s 2023 budget estimates the tax, which is paid by buyers, will bring in just under $950 million this year.

The tax accounted for nine per cent of city revenue in 2022. Even in the throes of the pandemic in 2021, it brought in close to $700 million.

Furey did not say where exactly he’d find the additional revenue to balance the budget if the tax were eliminated.  

“I'm seeking a mandate from Toronto residents to make supporting young families with their housing needs a priority,” he told in an email. “I'm sure the voters will agree that this is an issue of top concern and I will review the city's current expenses -- including those pet projects that nobody would argue are a priority -- with that in mind.” Top Stories

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