Imposing mandatory energy reports will further depress prices and sales volumes
If it was the intention of the Ontario government to do as much damage as possible to the Toronto real estate market, then it has succeeded admirably in its goals. In fact, it has also succeeded even if that was not its intention.
First came the new City of Toronto Act, which allowed the city to impose the dreaded municipal land transfer tax.
Effectively doubling the provincial land transfer tax, the "Miller Bite" acted as a tsunami of ice water on Toronto's previously healthy real estate market.
Home sales have gone down every month since the tax came into force last year.
Next came Premier Dalton McGuinty's announcement in January of this year that the government is taking a "long hard look" at implementation of a harmonized sales tax, which would see provincial tax imposed on many items which are currently exempt.
If it is approved, buyers and sellers would have to pay provincial sales tax on newly built homes, legal fees, real estate commission, renovation services, land survey reports, home inspections, repairs and improvements.
Now comes the third blow to the real estate market – Energy Minister George Smitherman's proposed legislation to require an energy audit for residential units.