Councillor calls for tax on foreign home buyers

Would bring in $206 million for city programs, Karygiannis says

Scarborough councillor Jim Karygiannis has written to Premier Kathleen Wynne to support taxing foreign home buyers.

The Ward 39 councillor called on the provincial government Thursday to tax an additional five per cent of the value of the sale of houses to non-Canadian residents. His motion to direct the city manager and province to meet and examine the idea was accepted by city council in December.

Karygiannis says implementation of the new tax will help new families, new buyers, and different causes all around the city.

“The most important thing to take away from this is that we’re bringing more money to the city of Toronto that can be used — an estimated $206 million,” Karygiannis said.

“You can have money for single moms, money for programs for troubled youth,” he said. “Not only that, but some of the money can be dedicated to first time buyers, in order to help them with buying a home, and money for Toronto’s infrastructure.”

Critics of the proposal fail to see the benefits.

Alyssa Xiu, an international student at the University of Ryerson, does not support the suggested taxation.

“I came to this country to study, finding a house is hard enough in Toronto as a foreigner looking for a home,” he said. “It doesn’t seem fair to me. If this tax is accepted, finding a home I can afford will really become a challenge.”

The average home price in Toronto has increased in 2016 by 20 per cent. Foreign homebuyers are estimated to account for about five percent of homes bought in the Toronto Real Estate boards.