Today, City Councillor Brad Bradford outlined his proposal to make it more affordable for young families and new Canadians to buy a home in Toronto.When the Municipal Land Transfer Tax was introduced in 2008, the rebate threshold for first-time homebuyers was set at $400,000 – the average cost of a new home at the time.
“Since 2008, the average cost of a home in Toronto has nearly tripled, but the rebate threshold has not gone up one cent,” said Councillor Bradford. “Toronto needs a new fiscal deal, but we should not balance our budget on the backs of hard-working families who are struggling to get ahead.”
Councillor Bradford will introduce a motion at today’s special Council meeting to increase the exemption threshold for the first-time homebuyer rebate from $400,000 to $750,000 – about the average cost of a condo in Toronto in July 2023.
“In this debate, we can’t lose sight of the need to build a more affordable city for the middle class, for the young families and new Canadians fighting to stay in Toronto,” said Councillor Bradford.
Toronto’s public service has grown by 25% since 2017, alone, with little in the way of accountability. The city’s operating budget has rocketed from $11 billion in 2018 to $16 billion in 2023. In addition to looking for new sources of revenue, Toronto needs to look for ways to control costs.
“This debate is about ensuring sustainable, long-term finances for both the city budget, and the family budget for everyone living in Toronto,” said Councillor Bradford. “Instead of looking only at how quickly and how high to raise taxes, I urge Mayor Chow to adopt my proposal to reduce costs for first-time homebuyers and find greater savings in city budgets.”
In 2022, the City of Toronto received $944 million in revenue from the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, after forgoing about $68 million in exemptions. Councillor Bradford’s plan to increase the exemption threshold could result in an estimated $30-65 million in foregone revenue, depending on the number of real estate transactions, eligibility and program design. It would also result in thousands more families being able to purchase their first home.
“Last year, nearly 50,000 people left Toronto for more affordable places to live in Ontario. Many of those are hard-working young families, with parents in the prime of their career,” said Councillor Bradford. “Increasing the threshold is a tangible measure that will immediately improve affordability for the middle class that our city’s prosperity depends on.”
SOURCE: Brad Bradford