Waterloo Region Real Estate leaders meet with Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak to talk HST
On Thursday June 17th, 2010, 16 leaders from Waterloo Region’s real estate industry, including REALTOR® members of the Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Board (KWREB), Cambridge Real Estate Board, staff, and a representative of the Waterloo Home Builder’s Association met with Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak at KWREB’s offices to discuss how the HST will impact the real estate industry and to explore ways in which to help moderate its impact.
Concern was expressed all around the table regarding the impending HST. The real estate experts are concerned that the implementation and transition rules are confusing and lack clarity or even consistency. Major points included:
- The government’s migration from an income to consumerism based taxation appears to be further targeting home ownership. Canadians purchase a home to enhance their Quality of Life, and taxing these hopes and dreams is simply wrong.
- This tax will raise the cost of home ownership and decrease affordability for everyone. REALTORS® want the government to quit taxing homeownership.
- While proponents of the HST argue that costs will eventually decrease as the HST works its way through the manufacturers supply chain, this remains to be seen, and many at the table expressed serious doubt that these savings will be passed on to consumers.
- Condo owners should expect their fees to increase, since all of the service providers will now be subject to HST.
- There is a 4.3 billion dollar price tag to repeal HST in Ontario – this is a significant sum that the province can ill afford to send back to Ottawa.
- It was the more affordable homes that drove our local real estate market out of the recessionary doldrums last year, and activity in the higher end homes was pretty quiet until recently. Unfortunately the HST will have the greatest potential impact on the group that was central to our local real estate economy last year.
- Hudak expressed concern that the HST will slow the economy down as consumers have less money to spend. As well he worries the HST could drive black market for construction contractors.
- To offset the HST, REALTORS® want the Government of Ontario to reduce the provincial land transfer tax (LTT) rate. (View Proposal)
- Mr. Hudak has advocated for a one year LTT holiday (so buyers would not pay the LTT for one year) however when presented with the REALTOR proposal for the first time, Hudak responded, “I will take this into consideration,” and thanked the group for bringing it forward.
- Hudak’s “bottom line” he says, is to lower taxes, and he wants to make sure it’s the best plan before making any promises.
- Mark Van Dongen, past president of WRHBA suggests the government raise the threshold for the rebate that is currently available to purchasers of newly constructed homes under $400,000. (New homes for primary residences up to $400,000 are eligible for rebates up to $24,000.) He also suggested that the rebate be made permanent (since it could be yanked at anytime) and indexed.