Mayoral candidate's new tax proposal would fund 10,000 new homes

Oct 5 2018, 1:12 pm

With the municipal election less than three weeks away, Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat unveiled her plan to make owning a home more affordable for thousands more people with a rent-to-own program funded by a surtax on luxury homes.

The former chief city planner and main competitor to incumbent John Tory said the goal of her proposed rent-to-own program is to recalibrate the Toronto housing market away from luxury rental development and to housing that the middle class and working families can afford.

“Toronto has become the most expensive city in Canada in which to rent, and housing prices are beyond the reach of most people. People are moving out of our city because it has become too expensive,” said Keesmaat.

“That’s a problem we are going to address. It’s time to give people a real path to owning a place they can call home in the city they love.”

On Thursday, Keesmaat unveiled her rent-to-own initiative which would be financed by a property tax surtax on high-end luxury homes valued at $4 million and above.

According to a release from Keesmaat, a 0.4% surtax on those luxury homes would yield roughly $80 million per year in revenue, which is “enough to help 10,000 families over the next ten years get into a home they can afford.”

Keesmaat says the high cost of housing is the top concern of many people in Toronto and if she’s elected mayor she will make housing more affordable.

“We can act to make housing more affordable, and if I’m elected mayor that’s what we are going to do”, Keesmaat said.

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