So Now, The Latest Buzz In Condoland Is To Increase The Municipal Land Transfer Tax


Here’s an entirely new slant on the concept of “harmony“!

Not too long ago, the City of Toronto imposed its own “Land Transfer Tax” to serve as a kind of double whammy of taxes on consumers buying their own home.

Now, most of us know that most condos sold in Condoland are actually bought by speculators and not home owners, but for the sake of argument let’s just walk this new concept to that old flawed concept through.

Just like with Builders/Developers raising prices (and profits) exponentially over the past decade and a half, I have no real complaint with taxes going up.

What staggers me is that we just keep on getting taxed and we don’t see delivered any results from those tax dollars.

So, according to a Toronto Star article this week, “first time home buyers could be hit with hundreds of dollars in additional closing costs if Toronto ‘harmonizes’ its land transfer tax with the province’s“.

When introduced, politicians ran around assuring us all that this tax would be repealed but we all knew that that would not happen once the elections were in the past.

Not only is this tax doing fine these days, our illustrious municipal government, still steeped in debt now wants to execute this accounting slight of hand to reel in yet more tax payer dollars into government coffers.

I’m a survivor in Condoland having weathered the real estate crash of 1989 (yes we had one!).

When I came into the business there one one tax imposed on property buyers, a Provincial Land Transfer Tax.

Then I saw GST (“Goods and Service Tax“) imposed onto reconstruction real estate transactions and everyone ran around like the sky was falling, yet the market continued unabated.

Then came HST (“Harmonized Goods and Service Tax“) and again everyone ran around saying the sky was falling, yet the market got over it.

Then came the “Municipal Land Transfer Tax“!

Now comes the “Harmonized Municipal Land Transfer Tax“!

And this is all over and above the millions of dollars the Municipal Government grabs on every high rise, nor does it factor in all the new property taxes, these consumer filing cabinets in the sky deliver!

According to Von Palmer, Toronto Real Estate Board chief communications and government affairs officer, “They use the word harmonization like it’s a break-even proposition.  It is not.  It’s an additional $100 million for the city”.  Toronto is already making $500 million a year more on the tax than the original $350 million estimate when it was introduced about eight years ago

Yet we still have budget shortfalls and deficits!

Condoland has literally “Boomed” for over a decade now thanks primarily to speculators and foreign investors!

It has become and “unregulated commodities market” as opposed to a home ownership alternative.

Yet, no matter how much they jack up prices arbitrarily, like lemmings over a cliff, small individual investors seemingly anxious to find a pied piper to follow, still get in line to “buy the dream“, unaware that the dream is actually a nightmare, from which they may wake up soon and find out that it is real!

It was only a few years back that the city launched its controversial Municipal Land Transfer Tax and at that time the average price of a home in Toronto was around $400,000.  Today that number is around double (approximately $800,000)!

My issue is that we don’t see anything for this money!

And we have huge “Deficits“!

And now, our Mayor proposes making the Gardner Expressway into a Toll Road.

I think we should have him go to Florida where Toll Roads abound (many other American cities as well) so he can see that there is always an existing alternative route with the Toll Roads paying for new roads!

Those consumers willing to cough up a couple bucks jump on the Turnpike (for example) and those who do not, stay on the Interstates.

I don’t see any such logic tied into the Mayors proposal to simply take the only highway and slam tolls on it!

It makes no sense at all.

Do you know that in China they just completed a bridge from Macau to Hong Kong!

Now, that’s “vision” and “cost justification” for toll roads!

And they are talking about big tube roads running under the see in the near future!

Again, that’s “vision” and effective “cost justification” for toll roads!

And in Toronto we aspire to simply impose a toll on a falling down (literally) old beater of a highway like to DVP and Gardner Expressway?

What ever happened to the vision that saw Canada produce the “Space Arm” that enabled astronauts to dock with the space station?

I haven’t been able to come across anyone’s logical theory on what happens to the horrific traffic jams that this allegedly prudent Toll Road theory is supposed to address.

Maybe Mayor Tory should watch “Field of Dreams” to hopefully manifest some level of vision around “build it and they will come” because he continually is inviting the masses to come to Toronto but this latest theory is simply too materially flawed to fly.

Our streets are nightmares!

Cars run red lights knowing that there is no police presence (want a cop find a condo site as they offer traffic co-ordination services to developers, uniformed and fully armed)!

The city has few advanced and/or extended intersections requiring drivers to run the gauntlet to make a turn.

There’s a constant war between drivers and pedestrians and bicyclists!

Our City planners have taken away roads with bicycle lanes and impediments to accommodate bicyclists taking away sidewalks for commercial use of restaurants and bars!

Talk about orchestrated chaos!

Maybe our Mayor should focus on things closer to home like these easy to remedy problems.

It’s time for some much bigger thinkers than what we’ve been getting.

I’m Charles




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