Most Ontarians are confused about HST and resale homes

No Ontario and Housing HST is being charged on:

  • residential rents
  • condo fees
  • purchase of resale homes

 The HST applies on the purchase of new homes. However, homebuyers can claim a rebate for some of the provincial portion of the tax for new homes priced up to $500,000. The rebate for new primary residences under $400,000 is six percent of the purchase price (or 75 percent of the provincial portion of the tax), with the rebate amount reduced for homes priced between $400,000 and $500,000. Buyers of new residential rental properties receive a similar rebate. The HST applys on real estate commissions.

NO HST when Buying a Resale Home
56% mistakenly believe HST applies to purchase price

TORONTO, Oct. 27 /CNW/ - An Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and released today reveals that 56 per cent of Ontarians mistakenly believe that the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) applies to the full purchase price of a resale home. In fact the HST is only levied on the various transaction fees associated with the purchase of a home that has been previously occupied (i.e. not a newly-built home). Currently, the average price of an Ontario resale home is around $330,000. Therefore, this confusion leaves the majority of Ontarians wrongly believing that the HST will add more than $40,000 to the transaction cost. There is growing concern among real estate professionals that this misperception about the HST is dampening the Ontario housing market.

"We see it on the front lines every day. Clearly, Ontarians still don't know what the HST covers and what is exempt," said Dorothy Mason, President of OREA. "This is not helping the housing market, and it's not helping the Ontario economy. This confusion means that many buyers think the cost of a resale home is tens of thousands of dollars higher than it actually is." The results of the survey conducted earlier this month were consistent across all age groups. However, there were some differences across other demographic categories. For instance, of those surveyed, half of the university graduates, 71 per cent of northern Ontarians, 59 per cent of those living in eastern and southwestern Ontario, and 54 per cent of GTA residents all mistakenly believe the HST applies to the full purchase price of resale homes.

"We're doing our part to inform our clients, but we shouldn't have to do it alone. We're calling on the Ontario government to launch an immediate public awareness campaign to educate taxpayers and end the HST confusion," said Mason. "For average homebuyers, learning that the HST does not apply to the full purchase price means a $40,000 saving they weren't expecting." Ipsos Reid conducted the survey among 830 Ontarians from Ipsos's online panel, between October 4th and 11th, on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association. The estimated margin of error is +/-3.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The Ontario Real Estate Association represents 49,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the 42 real estate boards throughout the province. OREA serves its REALTOR® members through a wide variety of professional publications, educational programs, advocacy, and other services.

What the Ontario HST Means to Consumers

For the most part consumers have not noticed a large change in prices overall. However, there are many items that were exempt from the provincial sales tax that are no longer exempt. They include:

  • gasoline
  • heating fuels
  • electricity
  • tobacco
  • personal services, such as haircuts, membership fees for clubs and gyms, magazines, taxi fares, professional services for lawyers, architects and accountants, and real estate commissions.

 The HST is not charged on:

  • basic groceries
  • prescription drugs
  • some medical devices
  • municipal public transit
  • health and education services
  • legal aid
  • most financial services
  • child care
  • tutoring
  • music lessons
  • residential rents
  • condo fees

Historically the PST was not applied to those items. There are still a few exemptions from the provincial portion of the sales tax:

  • children's clothing and footwear
  • diapers
  • children's car seats and car booster seats
  • feminine hygiene products
  • books (including audio books)
  • prepared food and beverages sold for $4.00 or less
  • print newspapers