Property surtax on luxury homes proposed in Toronto

By Kay Rivera

Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat, tried to woo prospective homeowners last week as she proposed a distinct project to make more homes affordable for the people in the city – a rent-to-own program funded by a surtax on luxury homes.

Going through the process, Keesmat said that Torontonians will be able to apply a part of their monthly rent against the down payment on their houses, allowing renting to eventually result in home ownership.

Envisioned to help 10,000 families over the next 10 years, this program will target people with lower salaries who may have been driven out of the city due to property prices.

"There's an entire generation that is being priced out of access to housing in our city. They are struggling with debt, they have little saved for retirement and have seen the home ownership ladder kicked out from underneath them," she said.

"It's time to give people a real path to owning a place they can call home in the city they love."

To fund the project, a new property tax surtax was proposed, so the expense would be shouldered by those who have the financial capacity to afford luxurious houses.

"Today,I am proposing a surtax on property tax paid on luxury homes — those that are worth more than $4 million in our city. A 0.4% property tax surtax on luxury homes will raise $80 million a year, sufficient to fund the rent-to-own program.”

Keesmaat also said that, if elected, she would be requesting the local and national governments help in opening 30,000 new ownership opportunities in the city over the next ten years.

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