Ontario housing package to cool GTA market coming today

Owen Stevens
April 21, 2017

"There's the foreign buyers tax, the empty homes tax in Vancouver... so there certainly has been progress, but generally speaking, we should raise property taxes and cut income and sales taxes, and we haven't done that yet for the general population", he says.

A sold sign is shown in front of west-end Toronto homes on April 9, 2017.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Thursday in an effort to cool a hot housing market in Canada's largest city.

"This housing solution is only focused on Toronto and the GTA", states a party news release.

If legislation passes, the tax would be effective retroactively to April 21.

The most recent possibility floated by the Ontario government is a "non-resident speculation tax", but the province hasn't yet said how exactly that tax would work.

The provincial government is also considering an overhaul of its rent control policy that would expand the cap on annual rent increases to units constructed after 1991.

Minister Sousa considered the hike in property prices as good news but the government has become increasingly concerned about rapidly rising rents and housing prices, and their impact on people looking to find a home.

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"The current strength in national home sales mainly speaks to what's going on in and around Toronto", said CREA President Andrew Peck.

The provincial Liberal government's housing plan contains 16 measures in all. It also includes rebating a portion of development charges to encourage rental construction under a five-year, $125-million program.

- A 15% non-resident speculation tax to be imposed on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations. "The issue is that builders will tell you that if you impose rent control that is only as high as inflation, that is not enough for them to start building". These new measures include developing a standard lease and tightening regulations around landlords evicting tenants for their own use.

Tory said he has committed to streamlining and speeding up building approvals, in particular for new affordable rental housing and he is also looking at a vacant homes tax.

- A review of the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions.

He was optimistic about Canada Revenue Agency's promise to support enforcement of tax compliance within the GGH's real estate sector.

Officials from Canada and its most populous province will meet later on Tuesday, under pressure from voters angry that speculators or foreigners are fueling unsustainable price gains.

"If we look at what economists are saying, look at what folks who are trying to buy a home are saying, it's really gotten to the point where it is out of control and we need to do something", she said. "They'll look after themselves".

Other reports by VgToday

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