Torontonians deserve thoughtful and fair approach to City's financial challenges: Toronto REALTORS(R)

    TORONTO, Aug. 29 /CNW/ - In response to recent City of Toronto
announcements regarding the City's fiscal situation, Toronto's REALTORS(R) are
calling on Mayor Miller, City Councillors and provincial politicians to
consider thoughtful and fair options preferred by Torontonians, instead of
just new taxation or cuts to core services.
    REALTORS(R) have been watching the actions of City and Provincial
politicians since Toronto City Council decided to defer consideration of a
second land transfer tax, which would mean a 100 per cent increase, 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's budget shortfall. It discriminates against
homebuyers by forcing them to shoulder a disproportionate and unfair burden,"
said Donald Bentley, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). "The
second land transfer tax should be taken off the table immediately and the
public should be given thoughtful choices instead."
    TREB points out that a second land transfer tax will impact average
people. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in Toronto's
condominium market, where most investment activity occurs, approximately 80
per cent of units are owned by people who live in them. Investment activity is
even lower when all residences are considered.
    "REALTORS(R) know first hand that the Toronto real estate market is
dominated by people buying homes to live in them, not by investors or
speculators," added Bentley. "A second land transfer tax will be felt the most
by real, hard-working, people with the dream of home ownership. In today's
market, it is not uncommon for these people to move every five years or so;
they will feel the sting of the second land transfer tax many times".
    REALTORS(R) believe that a fair approach to addressing Toronto's fiscal
situation should include immediate and adequate provincial action,
prioritizing the City's core services, and making sure services are delivered
    "The choice isn't simply between new taxes or cuts to core services. The
public knows better and they deserve better. There are other options. The City
has to get its house in order and all provincial politicians 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 that public 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(R) are also calling for an impartial third-party review of the City's
budget so that the public can have an accurate understanding of the City's
fiscal situation.
    "The public has the right to demand openness so that they can truly
understand what makes up the City's shortfall. The City shouldn't be hesitant
to ask for a second opinion on where savings can be found and other options,"
added Bentley.
    REALTORS(R) are also questioning the City's current approach to cost
containment, noting that the City's Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial
Officer is currently in the process of determining what the City's core
services are.
    "Frankly, it's shocking that the City would choose to pursue new taxes
before identifying discretionary services. The public know their priorities
and they expect the City to focus their existing tax dollars on those core
services, while finding savings in discretionary areas. The City's recent cost
containment efforts 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 at

    Toronto REALTORS(R) are passionate about their work. They adhere to a
strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service.
Serving more than 25,000 Members in the Greater Toronto Area, the Toronto Real
Estate Board is Canada's largest real estate board. Greater Toronto Area open
house listings are now available on

For further information:

For further information: For All Media, Public Inquiries: Mary
Gallagher, Manager, Media Relations, Toronto Real Estate Board, Office: (416)
443-8158, Cell: (416) 419-8133, Email:

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