Veteran real estate professionals have spoken of the risk of introducing speculative land taxes, something being considered in Vancouver, and recounting the day a similar move crashed the market.

Barry LeBow was 23 on April 9, 1974 when the Ontario real estate industry was rocked by a shock move by the province to introduce a 50 per cent tax on land speculation.

At the time, LeBow owned 53 properties but the market crashed overnight: “We were the largest home buyers in Toronto, my partners and myself. We had a company called WFE Developments. I went to bed a millionaire and woke up owing about $1.5 million the next morning,” he told the Financial Post.

Meanwhile, real estate lawyer Bob Aaron told the Post that the “market literally collapsed overnight” and so did his law practice. He said that the market in 1974 was not that different to how it is today.

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