Based on HOP’s success in Winnipeg and the positive response it received from a large gathering of REALTORS across the country at the PAC conference, we think the Government should embrace the practical and market savvy experience of REALTORS to strategically implement market- based solutions that will spread limited government resources further.
Members of The Winnipeg Real Estate Board (WREB), as part of the real estate industry, need access to property owners’ names in order to do their job as professionals and to ensure that they are meeting their professional and contractual obligations.
As REALTORS, we are at the front-line of property owners’ concerns be they residential, business or investment ones. This is no more apparent than when an out-of-towner comes to Winnipeg with a fresh pair of eyes and starts asking questions on not only housing availability and prices but also on desirable neighbourhoods and the attributes associated with them including schooling, public safety, proximity to work and property taxes. These out-of-towners in many instances have no predisposition to any one area of the city or outlying capital region properties. Thus, it becomes a real litmus test as to what they end up choosing and if the trend lines are any indication, more relocation transferees and Winnipeggers are opting to live outside Winnipeg.
MPAC’s position on affordable housing as outlined below wholeheartedly backs the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) federal affordable housing policy and local initiatives in the province such as the Winnipeg Real Estate Board-led Housing Opportunity Partnership (HOP) that is actively engaged in revitalizing a Winnipeg inner city neighbourhood through housing rehabilitation and introduction of new home ownership.
Rent controls have been a fixture in the Winnipeg real estate market since the 70s and so is the lack of no new apartment construction in the last 15 years. Is there any correlation? You bet there is!
While the position paper does not directly call for the removal of the business tax, under the stated topic of Leadership, it does make reference to the business tax in response to the question, “Does the City actually encourage growth of business – are we really open for business?”
REALTY TAXES, PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, LEADERSHIP, CAPITAL REGION, REDEVELOPMENT OF THE INNER CITY, and RENT CONTROL
Winnipeg with its combination of three sets of property taxes – municipal, special school tax levy and education support levy – is at the top of the heap in Canada when it comes to property taxes. They are excessive to say the least and it is no joking matter when you have many Winnipeg homeowners paying monthly property tax bills equivalent to someone’s mortgage. Where is it going to stop? The status quo is no longer acceptable. Rising property taxes are not sustainable and something has to be done. We cannot stress enough how urgent a problem this is!
One of the issues we have outlined in our 1998 civic and legislative affairs position paper was downtown revitalization and inner city redevelopment. To this end, we struck a task force last year to look at the issue of mixed-use development in the downtown with the aim to encourage more residential activity and intensification.
Organizations like ours have often complained about the City of Winnipeg having a lack of focus or direction or a strong implementation plan to carry out a well-defined set of priorities. Hopefully, this budget consultation process will lead to a clear set of priorities for the Mayor and City Council to take Winnipeg over the next few years. The alternative of drifting in a sea of change without a rudder is not a pleasant thought.