10/12/2011 12:41 EDT | Updated 12/12/2011 05:12 EST

Hot real estate market helps boost Toronto budget surplus to $139.3 million

TORONTO - Toronto's budget is expected to have a $139.3 million surplus this year — and the hot real estate market gets some of the credit.

City staff credit investments, the city manager's hiring slowdown, low winter maintenance and social assistance costs and the land transfer tax for the extra money.

The land transfer tax will raise $300 million, which is almost $80 million more than expected.

Mayor Rob Ford wants to eliminate the tax but Coun. Gord Perks says the city should keep it since it's facing a $774-million deficit next year.

Budget chief Mike Del Grande says the city was blessed with a hot real estate market this year but that could change in the future.

He says one-time surpluses should be used for one-time expenses and recommends saving the money or using it to pay for new streetcars. (CFRB)