Toronto mayor concerned about housing market

Vancouver, formerly Canada's hottest housing market, saw benchmark home prices rise 13 per cent last month from a year ago, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Tuesday.

The mayor of Toronto is expressing concern at the latest data on the city's hot housing market that shows home prices continue to soar.

While most of the market speculation has been on whether a tax on foreign buyers will be levied in Toronto as it was in Vancouver previous year, Sousa and others have argued for an increase in the capital gains tax on homes that are not principal residences to make speculation, or "flipping", more costly.

Provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa has suggested he is considering cooling measures as part of the provincial budget this month.

Ana Bailao, Toronto City Councillor, talks about rental issues facing Toronto and whether more controls are needed.

Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua said it's encouraging that government officials haven't introduced any "knee-jerk" housing policies.

Realtors have told the government to avoid policies that could knock the industry off-kilter, despite worries that Toronto is on the cusp of a housing price crash like the one it experienced almost 30 years ago.

Shawn Zigelstein, a sales representative with Royal LePage Your Community Realty, says a lack of available homes is the main culprit behind soaring prices.

On the supply front, new listings rose 15.2 per cent in March from the previous year, but the total inventory of active listings plummeted 35.2 per cent.

"I think they're both on the table and I thought our chief economist made a very credible case for a speculation tax", said James O'Sullivan, head of Canadian Banking at Scotiabank.

"If we want to cool our market down, our government has to make it harder for investors (domestic and foreign) to buy single family homes - it's that simple", wrote Pasalis.

"Annual rates of price growth continued to accelerate in March as growth in sales outstripped" listings, said Jason Mercer, head of market analysis at the real estate board.

At the high end of the range, the average price for detached houses in the Greater Toronto Area was $1.2 million in March - up 33.4 per cent from past year but about the same as in February.

"A substantial period of months in which listings growth is greater than sales growth will be required to bring the GTA housing market back into balance".

  • Zachary Reyes