Ontario brings in foreign housing tax to cool Toronto market

Ontario to tax foreign buyers, expand rent control

Canadians are moving to Ontario at the fastest rate in 29 years, and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) continues to be one of the most attractive places in the country for newcomers.

The province promises to introduce legislation that would enable Toronto and other cities to introduce a vacant home tax on empty homes.

- A joint purchase by a foreign national if their spouse is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, refugee or exempt under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. She says they are taking aim at speculators and are tackling affordability.

"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.

A highlight of the Ontario government's response is a 15% tax on foreign buying.

Homebuyers in Ontario, Canada will be required to provide more information about their place of residence and citizenship when acquiring property within the province from 24 April, reported CBC.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said last month that he's considering a British Columbia-style foreign buyer's tax - which he had ruled out a year ago. A similar tax in Vancouver brought sky-high prices down initially, but they're creeping back up, suggesting the measure's effect may have been only temporary.

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Home prices in the Toronto region rose 6.2 per cent in March, the biggest one-month gain on record, according to a benchmark price index by the Canadian Real Estate Association, and jumped nearly 30 per cent in the past 12 months. "And when the rising cost of housing is making more and more people insecure about their future, and about their quality of life in Ontario, we know we have to act".

"This outreach to a subset of our membership shows not only a significant intention to create new, badly needed objective built rental housing developments in Ontario, but also the vulnerability of the projects should the current environment suddenly change without consultation or consideration", FRPO president and CEO Jim Murphy said. CMHC will be expanding its affordable housing flexibilities to existing rental properties such as social housing projects with up to 5 years remaining in the Operating Agreement, which previously only applied to new rental properties.

But even Ma, who said only 5 to 8 percent of the 10,000 deals his 1,100 agents did a year ago involved foreign investors, thinks it is time for the government to do something about the housing bubble.

Tenants will benefit from the government's additional move to standardize rental agreements, Dent said, which will mean landlords won't be able to hit tenants with extra fees and charges.

Add in contradictory municipal policies that encourage higher residential densities, while simultaneously discouraging the development of multi-unit residences (apartments and townhouses) wherever there are single-family homes.

Moments after introducing a package of measures created to cool the GTA's red-hot housing market, Premier Kathleen Wynne conceded she's open to doing more if her plan doesn't work.

"We expect the measures to slow down activity in Toronto's housing market in the near term, not only due to their direct impact but also due to the impact of the uncertainty regarding their ultimate impact on potential buyers", he said.

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House prices in surrounding communities have also surged, as buyers give up on the Toronto market and head further out to find real estate within their budget.

Neither of Ontario's opposition parties objected to any of the government's proposed measures. Progressive Conservative Housing Critic Ernie Hardeman said the measures are moving "in the right direction".

Morneau offered to share the data Ottawa is gathering on housing markets with the other two levels of government.

Use surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop new and affordable housing. Toronto is also likely to see a vacancy tax introduced to curb so-called absentee landlords, a measure backed by Mayor John Tory.

In Toronto, the average price of detached properties hit $1.56 million, an increase of 32.8 per cent from March 2016. Then, in January, B.C. Premier Christie Clark announced the tax would be lifted for those who have a work permit, in order to encourage more people to come to the province to work.

The three politicians made the comments after a special meeting to discuss the housing situation. The real estate market heavily influences consumer spending-when markets boom, homeowners feel wealthier, and spend more money.

The provincial announcement comes amid fears that Toronto's red-hot real estate market is fuelled in part by foreign speculation.

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The plan also includes establishing timelines for elevator fix so that they aren't broken so often in condos and apartments.

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