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Stuck in Place: The Effect of Land Transfer Taxes on Housing Transactions

  • Benjamin Dachis

    (C.D. Howe Institute)

Numerous provinces and municipalities across Canada levy Land Transfer Taxes (LTTs). An LTT is a charge paid to a municipality or provincial government, upon the sale or transfer of real estate or similar immovable object. LTTs can be expensive, and make up a significant portion of the expenses associated with ordinary housing transactions, making moving more costly. The higher transaction costs, owing to the LTT, may cause some households to tolerate living in ill-suited homes for longer than they would have otherwise desired. Other potential effects of LTTs include government revenue volatility, commercial real estate market distortions, and higher construction costs. Municipalities that levy LTTs should limit themselves to other revenue-raising tools and replace the LTT with a revenue-equivalent property tax levy. Provincial governments that impose an LTT should replace their LTTs with revenue from value-added taxes.

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Article provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its journal C.D. Howe Institute Commentary.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): 364 (October)

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Handle: RePEc:cdh:commen:364
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  1. Christian A. L. Hilber & Teemu Lyytikainen, 2015. "Transfer taxes and household mobility: distortion on the housing or labour market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65022, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Michel Beine & Serge Coulombe & Wessel N. Vermeulen, 2015. "Dutch Disease and the Mitigation Effect of Migration: Evidence from Canadian Provinces," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(589), pages 1574-1615, December.
  3. Bev Dahlby & Michael Smart & Benjamin Dachis, 2009. "New Housing and the Harmonized Sales Tax: Lessons from Ontario," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 119, October.
  4. Rupert, Peter & Wasmer, Etienne, 2012. "Housing and the labor market: Time to move and aggregate unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 24-36.
  5. Christian Hilber & Teemu Lyytikainen, 2015. "Housing Transfer Taxes and Household Mobility: Distortion on the Housing or Labour Market?," ERSA conference papers ersa15p1491, European Regional Science Association.
  6. Dan Andrews, 2010. "Real House Prices in OECD Countries: The Role of Demand Shocks and Structural and Policy Factors," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 831, OECD Publishing.
  7. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez & Åsa Johansson, 2011. "Housing Markets and Structural Policies in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 836, OECD Publishing.
  8. Benjamin Dachis & Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2008. "Sand in the Gears: Evaluating the Effects of Toronto's Land Transfer Tax," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 277, December.
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