Election carrot may help feed commercial brokers

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Commercial brokers may come out the real winners if the promise of an election tax break encourages landlords to renovate existing properties.

The federal Liberals want to eliminate the GST on all new rental builds in the country while giving up to $125 million a year to landlords renovating aging rental units in the country.

The party is also proposing allowing Canadians a second chance to dig into their retirement savings plans to pay for a home if they have to move for work or the death of a spouse, see their marriage breakdown or take in an elderly relative.

Current rules only allow Canadians to use their registered retirement savings plans to finance the purchase of their first home.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau unveiled the pledge at an event in Toronto alongside Spadina-Fort York candidate Adam Vaughan, who has pushed social housing issues while in a high-profile race against the NDP’s Olivia Chow.

Chow won the seat in the 2011 election before leaving to make a failed bid for the Toronto mayoralty.

The Grits are also promising to study the hot housing markets in cities like Toronto and Vancouver to see what is driving up the cost of homes and condos.

The Conservatives made a similar commitment in Vancouver last month, tapping into concerns that foreign buyers were snapping up properties and driving up prices while the units themselves remain empty.

The Canadian Press 2015

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